“Incompetent” Rangeview estate builder David Brayer fined and stripped of building licence

Rangeview estate townhouses in Diamond Creek pictured during the construction phase in 2011. Little did those who bought the properties know what they were getting into.

Rangeview estate townhouses in Diamond Creek pictured during the construction phase in 2011. Little did those who bought the properties know what they were getting into.

A NEGLIGENT and incompetent builder has been found guilty of breaching professional standards following a six-month investigation by the Diamond Valley Leader.

David Brayer, a director of company Statbay Pty Ltd, was the corporate builder contracted to build 69 townhouses at Diamond Creek’s Rangeview estate that are now riddled with defects.

A fire safety expert suggests they should be demolished.

Mr Brayer did not appear before the Building Practioners Board (BPB) yesterday (Wednesday, February 3) to hear allegations against him including failing to build fire separation walls to the standards of the Building Act (1993), failing to address defective works, and incompetence.

He did, however, submit a written statement to the BPB board saying that he could not afford legal representation, would contest all allegations, and issued an apology.

“I am devastated by the way things have turned out and I sincerely apologise,” Mr Brayer wrote.

“I have been a registered builder for over 15 years and apart from this inquiry, I have never had any issues with the BPB.”

Mr Brayer did not address expert evidence provided to the board, but rebutted allegations saying he hired subcontractors to complete the work while Reddo Building Surveyors approved the project. He pleaded not guilty to four allegations relating to the competency and standard of his work.

But the board, comprising Carolyn Lloyd, Tony Abbruzzese and Craig Fletcher, sifted through 2000 documents detailing expert evidence from a number of experts including fire safety practitioner Stuart McLennan, Electrical Compliance Victoria, Plumbing Industry Commission, Worboys Plumbing, Master Painters Association, TMC and Associates and Carter Holt Harvey.

Mr McLennan revealed fire separation walls were “fundamentally flawed”, demolition of properties was required and suggested a fire would spread rapidly through the homes.

Cladding manufacturer Carter Holt Harvey revealed the wrong nails were used and, in some cases, screws were only drilled through one sheet of cladding.

Other reports found the properties had electrical faults, leaking roofs, warped doors, incorrect roof sheets, cracked ceilings and unpainted walls.

Ms Lloyd said the board rejected Mr Brayer’s defence and described the homeowners’ ordeal as “heart-wrenching” and “devastating”.

“In the board’s experience, the practitioner’s actions in this instance are at the extreme end of the practitioner failing to carry out his work in a competent manner and to a professional standard,” Ms Lloyd said.

“The board is particularly concerned that the practitioner has been found guilty of gross negligence, gross incompetence, which shows he is not a fit and proper person to practice as a registered building practitioner.

“Hypothetically (after the three-year disqualification period), he may apply for registration, but he would have to start that from scratch, and the range of things we take into consideration would be his history.”

Mr Brayer was slapped with three fines of $15,167 for each breach of standards, totalling $45,501, was ordered to pay more than $19,300 in costs, and banned from operating as a registered builder for a minimum of three years.

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