In­fill blamed for home dam­age

Kalamunda Reporter - - News - Lisa Thomas

HOME­OWN­ERS in Wood­bridge are warn­ing against the risks of in­fill devel­op­ment af­ter a prop­erty was left with sig­nif­i­cant dam­age af­ter con­struc­tion be­hind their home.

Neigh­bours So­phie Oster­loh and Fran­cis Cal­abrese are en­cour­ag­ing house own­ers to get pre-con­struc­tion di­lap­i­da­tion re­ports where de­vel­op­ments could put their prop­er­ties at risk.

Ms Cal­abrese said since the prop­erty be­hind her el­derly par­ents’ house was cleared and site works started in mid-2015, their house had suf­fered from pool­ing wa­ter and con­den­sa­tion un­der the floor­ing, which has re­sulted in the growth of white mould.

She said ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions by a plumber ruled out prob­lems with their house.

It was be­lieved poor drainage on the prop­erty be­hind and wa­ter pool­ing from un­der the re­tain­ing wall was to blame.

“We never had any prob­lems prior to the site works start­ing but now we have wa­ter con­stantly pool­ing un­der the back re­tain­ing wall, ris­ing damp­ness and white mould grow­ing un­der the floor­ing,” she said.

“The house is no­tice­ably colder and there is a musty smell which was never there be­fore.”

Ms Cal­abrese said the house had been at the site works phase for three years and de­spite com­plaints to the builders and the City of Swan, noth­ing had been done to fix the prob­lem.

She said the house also had no back fence and there was no pri­vacy, with any­one able to walk into the back of their prop­erty.

Ms Cal­abrese said the ini­tial site works and re­tain­ing walls were done with­out build­ing ap­proval, but the owner re­ceived ret­ro­spec­tive ap­proval from the City. She said the devel­op­ment had been stalled for three years, with a new builder tak­ing over the project re­cently.

“Over the past three years I have made a num­ber of vis­its to the City of Swan, but my com­plaints have not been sat­is­fac­to­rily dealt with and the fo­cus was on the per­ceived short­com­ings of my par­ents’ home,” she said.

“There have been no thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Un­less the drainage is fixed to pre­vent wa­ter run­ning into the prop­erty and the floor­ing is com­pletely re­placed, my el­derly mother will even­tu­ally be un­able to live here.”

How­ever, be­cause Ms Cal­abrese’s par­ents never pre­pared a pre-con­struc­tion di­lap­i­da­tion re­port there is no way to prove the cause of the dam­age.

“I want to en­sure this doesn’t hap­pen to some­one else. Other peo­ple know what they need to do to avoid be­ing in this sit­u­a­tion,” Ms Cal­abrese said.

Ms Oster­loh, who lives on the same street as Ms Cal­abrese, said she had spent months re­search­ing and spent a con­sid­er­able amount of money on con­sul­tants to en­sure her house did not suc­cumb to the same fate af­ter the City ap­proved a block of units in the prop­erty ad­ja­cent to hers.

She said drainage in the City was a con­cern be­cause of clay soils, so sub­soil drainage sys­tems needed to be a re­quire­ment in the site works phase.

“I couldn’t be­lieve that the lack of bound­ary set­backs, build­ing bulk and the ris­ing damp is­sue my neigh­bours were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing was not enough of a rea­son for the City of Swan to take no­tice,” she said.

Swan chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Fo­ley said while the City’s build­ing sur­veyor iden­ti­fied that poor drainage had pos­si­bly caused the down flow of wa­ter into the Cal­abrese prop­erty, the City could not con­firm that this was the cause.

“The City of Swan has in­ves­ti­gated Ms Cal­abrese’s com­plaints and pro­vided her with ad­vice of Au­gust 31 2015,” he said.

“Ms Cal­abrese is en­cour­aged to get in touch with the City if she would like to dis­cuss the mat­ter fur­ther."

So­phie Oster­loh show­ing the mould grow­ing un­der the floor of Ms Cal­abrese’s el­derly par­ents’ house.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.