Shocking Discovery in Butler Building Inspection Reveals New Entry to the Dodgy Builders List
russell from wa building inspections perth
  • Adherence to Australian Standards is Non-negotiable: Our building inspection in Butler, Perth shows the critical importance of complying with Australian Standards AS3700, AS4773.1, and AS4773.2. Ignoring them can lead to severe structural failures, endangering lives and property.

  • The Role of Thorough Inspections: This case from Butler vividly demonstrates the vital role of comprehensive building inspections. Such inspections are crucial in identifying and rectifying deviations from established standards, ensuring that buildings are safe, durable, and compliant.

Hello again, I’m Russell McCarthy, the passionate founder and lead building inspector at WA Building Inspections Perth. Today’s reveal in Butler (just north of Joondalup) isn’t just an inspection; it’s a deep dive into the perils lurking behind the facade of new constructions. Join me as we unpack the findings from Butler, where our latest brick stage inspection uncovers alarming construction defects, spotlighting the critical need for vigilance in the building industry and our newest addition to the Dodgy Builders List.



The Unveiling in Butler

In the serene suburb of Butler, our routine inspection unveiled a series of construction blunders that were as shocking as they were dangerous. “I know you like to see how builders have done a really shit job,” I mentioned at the onset, setting the stage for a detailed account of negligence that we uncovered.


Two Skins of Brickwork: A Foundation of Flaws

“He’s done two skins of brickwork here… T-lintel sticking out. The T bar is too big,” were my initial observations. This was not merely a deviation from aesthetic norms but a glaring breach of structural integrity. The oversized T bar and protruding T-lintel signaled a lack of adherence to construction norms, underscoring the importance of precision in building practices.


Negligent Structural Incompetence

The structure, still roofless, was a testament to the project’s failure. “It hasn’t even got a roof on it and it’s failed… It’s wobbly… It’s structurally defective. It is completely, completely ruined,” I noted, dismayed by the degree of neglect. This wasn’t just an incomplete project; it was a ruin in the making, compromised from its very foundation.



Ignored Standards and Visible Defects

Our meticulous inspection in Butler brought to light not just physical defects but also a blatant disregard for vital construction standards. “None of it’s mortar filled. So it’s not compliant… Missing a holding down rod in this period here,” were among the concerning findings. This neglect directly contravened several Australian Standards, critical to maintaining the structural integrity and safety of any building:


AS3700: Masonry Structures

The Standard Explained

AS3700 sets the guidelines for the construction and design of masonry structures. It outlines the proper use and application of materials, ensuring that structures are built to withstand the tests of time and environment. This standard is crucial for guaranteeing the structural performance of brickwork, including the necessary specifications for mortar mixing and filling.

The Violation

The glaring absence of mortar filling in the structure’s brickwork is a direct violation of AS3700. This oversight not only undermines the masonry’s durability and strength but also significantly increases the risk of structural failure. Proper mortar filling is essential for the cohesion and stability of brickwork, elements that were sorely missing in our Butler inspection.


AS4773.1: Masonry in Small Buildings – Design

The Standard Explained

AS4773.1 provides comprehensive guidance on designing masonry for small buildings. It addresses the critical aspects of masonry construction that ensure safety, including the distribution of loads and the integration of structural supports. This part of the standard ensures that the design phase incorporates all necessary measures for a safe and durable structure.

The Violation

The oversized T bar and protruding T-lintel not adhering to design specifications highlighted a disregard for AS4773.1. Proper design according to this standard is essential for ensuring that the masonry work can adequately support the imposed loads, a criterion evidently not met in the inspected structure.


AS4773.2: Masonry in Small Buildings – Construction

The Standard Explained

While AS4773.1 covers the design aspects, AS4773.2 focuses on the construction practices for masonry in small buildings. It stipulates the requirements for building execution, including quality control measures, material handling, and the execution of masonry work to ensure that the design’s safety and durability criteria are met during construction.

The Violation

Our findings of missing holding down rods and the absence of mortar filling are clear breaches of AS4773.2. These elements are fundamental to the construction phase, ensuring the masonry’s integrity and the overall structure’s stability. The failure to adhere to these construction guidelines compromises the building’s safety, exposing it to potential risks and failures.



The Critical Role of Compliance and Inspection

The Butler inspection is a glaring reminder of the disasters that ensue when builders cut corners. Every overlooked standard and skipped inspection can lead to dire consequences, endangering lives and investments. “This whole garage needs to come down,” was a difficult but necessary conclusion of our inspection, underscoring the gravity of the defects and the non-negotiable need for demolition.



Beyond the Bricks: A Call for Industry Reform

Our findings in Butler are not just a example of pure negligence but a call to arms for the construction industry. It’s a plea for a return to rigorous standards, regular inspections, and a commitment to safety and quality over expediency and cost-cutting. “Don’t even look at that. Don’t even look at the brick. Just try to look beyond that,” I urged, emphasising the need to see past the immediate to understand the systemic issues plaguing construction.


Our Final Say: Building a Safer Future

I’m not sure if congratulations are in order for this builder who has just entered our dodgy builders list in Perth. This Butler building inspection, though disheartening, is a pivotal step towards ensuring change in Perth’s construction industry. By exposing the dangers of negligence and the paramount importance of building inspections, we pave the way for safer, more reliable construction practices. At WA Building Inspections Perth, we’re committed to ensuring that each home and structure in Butler, Joondalup, and the wider Perth area stands not just as a testament to architectural vision but as a beacon of safety, compliance, and integrity.

Our journey through Butler’s building blunders is more than a building inspection report; it’s a blueprint for change, urging homeowners, builders, and inspectors towards higher standards and unwavering diligence. Together, we can transform the landscape of construction in Perth, building a future where safety and quality are the cornerstones of every home and building project.


The findings from today’s inspection in Butler serve as a crucial reminder: the importance of choosing reputable builders and the indispensable role of thorough building inspections cannot be overstated. In ensuring these practices, we protect not just individual projects but the very fabric of our communities.



FAQ Section


1. What are the signs of construction defects to look out for?

Look for cracks in walls, uneven flooring, doors and windows that won’t close properly, and any signs of water damage. These can all indicate deeper structural problems.


2. How can a building inspection protect me from dodgy builders?

A thorough inspection can reveal hidden defects and poor workmanship before you commit to a purchase or after construction, giving you leverage to demand repairs or negotiate prices.


3. What steps should I take if I suspect construction defects in my home?

Contact a reputable building inspector immediately. Document all defects with photos and notes, and discuss potential remedies with your builder based on the inspection report.


4. Can construction defects be fixed, or is demolition the only option?

Many defects can be fixed with the right expertise, though it depends on the severity. In extreme cases like structural failure, demolition may be necessary.


5. How do I ensure my builder is reputable and won’t end up on the Dodgy Builders List?

Research their history, ask for references, and check their credentials. Ensure they have a solid track record and are transparent about their processes.


6. What are the most common construction defects found in Butler, Perth?

Issues range from structural inadequacies, poor brickwork, to non-compliance with building codes. These are often due to cutting corners or lack of oversight.


7. How often should I have my property inspected for potential defects?

Before purchase, during construction (at several building stages), and at regular intervals post-construction, especially after severe weather events or if signs of defects appear.


8. Are there specific construction standards that builders in Butler must adhere to?

Yes, builders in Butler, like all of Perth, must comply with the Australian Building Codes and Standards, ensuring safety, quality, and sustainability.


9. What role do building inspectors play in preventing construction malpractices?

Inspectors ensure that construction meets legal and safety standards, identifying defects and non-compliance, thus preventing potential malpractices.


10. How can I report a builder suspected of cutting corners and compromising safety?

Report them to your local building authority or the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. Providing evidence such as inspection reports can support your claim.