Identifying the Types and Causes of Construction Defects in Multi-Unit Dwellings

Denman, Michael (2022) Identifying the Types and Causes of Construction Defects in Multi-Unit Dwellings. [USQ Project]

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The aim of the project was to understand the types of defects occurring within residential apartment buildings over 3 stories in Australia. The need to undertake this work was highlighted through rapidly expanding numbers of apartment commencements in Australia over the last 15 years. Additionally, evidence suggests an increasing rate of defects through this period. By gaining a deeper understanding of the defects occurring, areas needing focus to prevent and minimise future defects can be highlighted.

A review of prior research outlined issues surrounding the availability of data on defects in apartments in Australia. The methodology used therefore considered the available sources of information with respect to the information sought, detail required and project time constraints. Accordingly, a mixed method was selected utilising a questionnaire of apartment residents accompanied by interviews with industry experts. The combination of these methods would provide the quantitative data required on defects, as well as insight from those within the industry. Analysis of the data collected would focus on the frequency and severity of defects to determine an overall defect risk profile. A review of all available apartment defect cause literature was also undertaken to review common causes.

The research found two defect types presented the highest overall risk – waterproofing and structural defects. In terms of risk profile, waterproofing defects were 1.9 standard deviations above the mean and structural defects were 1.37 standard deviations above the mean. It also found a secondary tier of risks to include electrical, light and data, hydraulics and corrosion. The expert interviews found the push towards Design and Construct (D&C) contracts for delivery of apartment buildings, reputation not being considered by buyers reliance on subcontractors to inspect and certify their own work and a lowering standard of engineering work were all raised as issues contributing to reduced apartment quality. The defect cause review found issues relating to information management and communications within apartment project teams. Other common defect causes identified were time pressures, workmanship, management strategy and motivation.

By identifying the defects creating the highest level of overall impacts and their relative significance, the study has highlighted to construction industry professionals and researchers areas where defect reduction activities and future research would provide the greatest benefit. In doing so, the frequency and severity of defect in apartments buildings can be reduced. The interview insights and defect cause review provide additional context to guide further work in this field.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Surveying and Built Environment (1 Jan 2022 -)
Supervisors: Ullah, Fahim
Qualification: Bachelor of Construction (Honours)
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2023 01:58
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 01:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: residential apartments; defects; cause; types

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