Article: Victoria Building Authority
What have we found?
The VBA’s Proactive Inspections Program has identified sites where excavation work has been completed without the required protection measures in place to protect adjoining properties from the effects of unstable site cuts, such as retaining walls/site batters.
In many instances, these situations are identified a few months into the building process. Remember, where protection of adjoining properties is necessary, work should not be left to the end of the project, but rather be attended to before the main construction starts.
What should be done?
Builders need to recognise that because building work can severely impact adjoining properties, it is crucial to follow the protection work process set out in Forms 3 & 4 and within the timeframe specified. The owner/builder should also ensure appropriate insurance cover and survey of adjoining properties are in place prior to the protection work.
Building Inspectors and Building Surveyors are reminded that when inspecting sites at the mandatory notification stages, protection work measures must be in place as per the building permit documentation and in accordance with the Form 3 & 4 procedures and timeframes. Where departures or issues are identified, appropriate enforcement actions must be taken.
What can a Practitioner do?
- Be mindful that building work performed may impact on adjoining properties
- Ensure survey of adjoining properties and insurances are in place before starting protection work (this is a mandatory requirement under sections 93 & 94 of the Building Act 1993)
- Communicate early and often with affected adjoining properties about key dates and access requirements
- Prioritise protection of adjoining properties over construction work
- Follow the protection work procedures and methods specified through the building permit process and Form 3 & 4 served on the adjoining properties.
Site excavation on the side boundary approximately 600mm high without a retaining wall being installed, many weeks after the site excavation was completed and construction of the house was well under way.