With the growing number of complaints lodged by desperate homeowners about dodgy builders and shoddy workmanship of new builds across Australia, tradies are now speaking up about dubious practices and the "horrible" standards that are plaguing the country's building and construction industry.
Following the pandemic-era boom, the number of issues with sub-standard work is eroding the confidence of Aussie home buyers and some tradespeople themselves.
"I would never buy a new build especially post-Covid," one tradie declared on social media this week. "I don't think (with) these new builds you're gonna see the return on investment that a lot of the older, previous generation has on theirs."
Tradie speaks out
Wollongong tradesman Jimmy Pallone, who took to TikTok to slam the dodgy plumbing and fixtures of a million-dollar home he'd been called out to do a water efficiency test on, told Yahoo News Australia there are several factors contributing to current problems with new apartments and houses.
"The 'cheapest quote' is always the winner, disregarding the stable sensible quotes which well-rounded and reliable tradespeople will give," Mr Pallone cited on top of other issues such as the lack of pride some tradies take in their work, rising costs of materials and cut-throat expectations builders have for a new development.
"With the cheaper quoted workers, the work will be less adequate and rushed. In a way, you pay for what you get," he said. It's a sentiment that, as it turns out, is shared by countless other tradespeople in the building and construction industry.
How tradies get away with 'shortcuts'
Doing a job on the cheap results in tradies cutting corners, a 45-year veteran in the plumbing industry shared with Yahoo, on condition of anonymity. "The cost of getting something done is always a factor... Instead of doing it 100 per cent correctly, they'll do it 90 per cent correctly. They'll get the job done, but it's not really the right way to do things," he said.
Like Mr Pallone, he lamented the lack of integrity and pride for one's work, but added there are also few checks and balances around to monitor work done by tradespeople and developers.
"People know no one is going to come out to inspect what was done, so they take shortcuts because there's nobody checking on them," he added. "What it gets down to is the dollar at the end of the day. If they can make that dollar quicker, they'll do everything in their power to make it happen. They're more worried about the money, which is a worry."
Another tradie, who also asked not be named, expressed concern over dodgy workmanship that has been exposed online. "It's a serious concern in regard to quality control that issues like this aren't being identified and then rectified immediately," he shared.
Mr Pallone, for one, shared the opinion that the standard of tradespeople is "horrible", saying some tradies will do the bare minimum to get a new home in working order. "Yes it works but no it's not fine, and the standard of work on homes we pay millions for shows how ridiculous the economy is. The work I've come across is rushed and not to standard."
'Major issues' with new homes
Comparing the quality of new homes to older developments, Mr Pallone added that buyers are increasingly caught out. "New homes built in 2010 are already having major issues with paint, plumbing, electrical and so on, whereas a lot of older 1980-onwards houses are only finding issues now 30 to 40 years later," he said.
"In the end, it'll come back to dodgy builders who want to make a quick buck to survive by cutting corners and getting less able tradespeople to rough the job up," he added.
Government steps in
Pressure has been mounting for the government to set tighter regulations and tougher penalties in light of the rising number of complaints against unscrupulous developers.
In NSW, the Minns Labor government announced it was establishing a Building Commission to "oversee the regulation, licensing and oversight" of the building and construction industry, with Building Commissioner David Chandler tasked to monitor the quality of new housing developments.
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