Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4516 ..
specify alternate footing systems as they deem fit. In this case the procedures were followed correctly but it appears the engineer failed to provide the correct classification.
(4) No. The lessee was granted an owner builder's permit in accordance with the Building Act. The owner sat for a basic examination to assess his suitability to construct this specific type of house. An owner builder's permit was given with the following endorsement: "Practising structural engineer to certify wall and roof frames on completion of stage". This was in addition to the compulsory requirement for a footing classification certification.
(5) This question was examined by the Government Solicitor and the advice was that the owner builder has complied with the permit conditions and neither the Territory nor the Building Controller has any right of action against the owner builder. However, under current arrangements Building Certifies and the Certifying Engineers hold a level of responsibility and are required to carry appropriate insurance.
(6) The current owners are the fourth owners and the first owner was an owner builder. Even if the first owner was a licensed builder, the discovery of the footing problems appeared some 7 years after the construction. As such, it would not have been covered by the compulsory home owners warranty insurance as the warranty is only valid for 5 years from the date on which the Certificate of Occupancy was issued.
The owner/builder, Mr Bonansca, was not prepared to enter into discussions on this matter and indicated that he had relied on the advice of the structural engineer.
(7) PALM recommended that the owners should approach the engineer who certified the foundation material and the footing system seeking a remedy.
(8) (a) & (b) 12 blocks in Section 14 Red Hill are known to have fill material.
(9) With appropriate technical designs, preventing construction on these sites is considered unnecessary. In the PALM database this special situation has been recorded for these blocks. This will be brought to the attention of the owners when they apply for a development approval. The same information has also been provided to the building certifiers.
With special attention to footing design and with substantial additional cost to footing construction these sites can be developed. Currently two owners have constructed dual occupancies in this area with properly constructed footing systems that took into account the technical conditions of the site. Some owners are prepared to pay the additional cost for the footings as the land value in Red Hill more than offsets it.
(10) The Government Solicitor's Office has considered this matter and advised that the Territory relied on professional certifications provided by a qualified engineer as required under the legislation and acted in accordance with the regulatory requirements. The Government Solicitor's Office concluded that the Territory is not liable.