Builder to pay $98,000 over termite damage to home
A WOODGATE builder has been ordered to pay a client almost $100,000 after their home suffered severe termite damage due to "faulty construction".
In November 2001, Martha and Todd Tracey hired licensed builder Rodney Wagner to build a low set brick veneer home on a concrete slab on their block of land in Woodgate.
"While the builder was the company Olindaridge, the construction was carried out by Mr Wagner and of course the builder's subcontractors," a judgement by Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) member David Lewis said.
"One of those was Termimesh - its role was to install a product called termimesh around the perimeter of the slab, and to penetrations in the slab."
In 2008, the Tracey's noticed "odd things" about their Woodgate house.
"The cornices were dropping in places, and doors were binding," Mr Lewis said.
"They did not understand the problem. However in September that year they discovered what looked like dirt coming out of the walls, and contacted another builder, a Mr Keith Morgan, who lived nearby.
Mr Morgan investigated and found live termites in the wall between the main bedroom and the ensuite. He advised them to contact a pest control contractor."
The couple were unable to contact Termimesh so they engaged Victory Pest Control who treated termites in the bedroom wall and placed a chemical barrier around the perimeter but this did not solve he problem and they had to return eight times between September 2008 and May 2010.
Mr Lewis was presented with evidence of two possible points of entry by the termites.
"A very considerable body of evidence points to the ensuite shower floor and the vent pipe as being the points of entry for the termites," he said.
"The only evidence (as opposed to speculation) to the contrary is Mr Wagner's statement that there were no holes visible in the shower recess at the time of construction. Given that this is contrary to the established facts, it must be discounted.
"This tribunal must decide on the balance of probabilities, not on scientific certainty. On that basis the evidence is all one way, and I find that these two points are the entry points for the termites and that such entry has resulted from faulty construction."
Mr Lewis said the home had been "extensively damaged".
"A number of rooms are affected, and the engineers confirm that in some respects the structural integrity of the walls has been compromised to the extent that they should be replaced," he said.
Mr Lewis ordered Mr Wagner pay Mr and Mrs Tracey $98,600 within 28 days from the judgement date of August 5.
Footnote: Mr Wagner was successful in a bid to be allowed to appeal the judgement last year. The parties subsequently settled in a confidential agreement, meaning the tribunal did not have to make a final determination.