ROTTED AWAY: Todd Wallace shows the damage done to the walls from water as a result of a dodgy water proofing job.
ROTTED AWAY: Todd Wallace shows the damage done to the walls from water as a result of a dodgy water proofing job. Tara Cassidy

Building disaster: Family left to cop $20k mess

A BLACKS Beach couple's dream home has a virtually unusable main bathroom after what they claim was a series of unforgivable blunders from the Queensland Building Services Authority.

Zoe and Todd Wallace could be left with a bill of about $20,000 to fix the problem.

The authority assigned two local builders to build their home in 2008, and problems soon began to be obvious.

Within a few years the young couple noticed water damage had begun to show in their main bathroom, so they called in the Queensland Building Construction Commission assessor to figure out what the issue was.

The assessor wrote it off as a cosmetic issue, needing no further assistance from them, and blamed it on poor bathroom ventilation and the couple taking long showers, which led to heavy condensation and the damage.

He suggested the couple get a window built in and cut down their shower times.

Accepting the assessor's judgment, Ms Wallace thought that they wouldn't be receiving further help through QBCC as the damage "was non-structural".

The pair decided down the track when they could afford to they would renovate the room and put in a window, but until then would just deal with the minor damage.

Last week Ms Wallace's father, Peter Sticklan, a builder himself, began the bathroom renovations - it was only then that the true damage of the bathroom was apparent.


Mr Sticklan shows the rotting walls.
Mr Sticklan shows the rotting walls. Tara Cassidy

According to Mr Sticklan, the "minor damage from condensation" was in fact extensive structural damage as a result of a poor water proofing job.

Water had built up beneath the whole floor of the bathroom and absorbed into the wood, rotting the structure and the nails keeping it together.

He could pull the wood and wall apart using just two fingers it was so brittle.

Mr Sticklan said not only was he concerned with the huge cost that his daughter and partner might soon face to fix it, but the health hazards involved.

"It's wet still, it's growing mould and attracts termites. I don't even want to think what impact it's had on their health, sleeping and breathing that in every night with their bed against that wall."

Mr Sticklan said while the family were frustrated that the initial job wasn't done well, they couldn't believe another error could be made by QBCC a second time round.

"We're absolutely disgusted," he said.


"The tiling wasn't done properly so they should have come to look at it and rectified it then, but to then have the assessment totally flawed too is just ridiculous.

"That assessor should have come in and said that he couldn't determine the cause without a more invasive investigation and had a look in the wall."

After finding the damage, Ms Wallace and her partner Todd called the QBCC to have someone come and properly follow up their initial claim. However, they said they were told that while it was made within the designated six-year and three-month period, the assessor hadn't been able to tend to the job within that timeframe and therefore the case was closed - they were on their own.

"We just can't comprehend that even though you make the claim within the correct dates, if the person coming to check can't make it in that time it's not their issue," Ms Wallace said. "If you give a specific timeframe then you should have to abide by that, not only that, had that assessor made a correct judgment on the damage to begin with then we would have reopened this issue much sooner.


The water damage in the Wallace bathroom. Rotted walls, nails and wet sand beneath tiles.
The water damage in the Wallace bathroom. Rotted walls, nails and wet sand beneath tiles. Contributed

"Instead of calling them last Wednesday when we eventually found the damage ourselves, we would have called them straight after the assessor had been out, it's just not right."

A commission spokesperson said they recently received a complaint from the homeowner and a building inspector visited the property on Thursday.

"As the matter is currently being investigated, we cannot provide specific details of the case," the spokesperson said. "The QBCC will continue to work with the homeowner..."

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