One of Australia’s largest builders has lost an appeal against rebuilding a Melbourne couple’s dream home plagued with structural faults.

Earl and Shelley Softley's house suffered major structural issues due to footing and foundation movements - a problem known as slab heave.

In December 2014, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered Metricon Homes to pay for the demolition and reconstruction of the Melton West house as well as removalists and rental accommodation for its owners.

Metricon Homes launched an appeal against that decision, which was dismissed by the Victorian Court of Appeal

  • Sadly this decision does not mean that future owners will obtain such a decision. It is not a 'landmark' case.
    First, 6 years have passed and enormous costs were involved in this and the Hooper case. Most owners do not have the money to fund such a case, nor go through the inevitable stress over this period.
    Second, Wynne's new legislation will have any such couples, individuals or families 'forced' into the 'new dispute system', where once lured, they will be held captive. They will be pressured to pay money to which the builder has no entitlement and this a 'legal' initiative under our latest Government. This initially NOT at VCAT, but where owners will have no Rights.
    Third, few owners will have the money to pay and hence be pushed to go away, to accept the building nightmare, without any pull down or rectification.
    Third, the 'regulators' – VBA and CAV – will continue to protect the crooks as always and under 'legally' they will 'compel' owners to pay the cowboys or to accept a 'fat lemon' and 'live with it'!
    Fourth, if either party appeals at VCAT, there will be years of 'dragging out' the case, huge financial loss for owners and as in the past the likely outcome will be that VCAT will 'determine' the builders and their buddies to be the winners.

    Nothing has changed. The 'new system' is the old system made much worse. When fully operational, and with the same old officials in charge, and the vested interests will remain the supported, protected players in 'dispute heaven' – where the lawyers and all the other 'experts' will increase their incomes via 'manufactured dispute'. A lawyers' picnic every day of the week!

    Get ready for increased consumer detriment, with many hundreds of thousands more lives ruined.

  • This is absolutely shameful and disgraceful of Metricon's behalf.

    Whilst one can understand that they did not want a precedent to be set, they should have just done the right thing and rebuilt the thing after the VCAT decision.

    • I agree with Paul. I think the judgment should have been that builder buys out owners at fair market price and that directors be sentenced to live in that home for six years for punishment.

  • This should be a standard law in a building contract then there would be no problems its just the pollies not interested unless its there house. Russ. Jones.

    • Unfortunately this problem has also happened to me by another very large and well known builder (Clarendon Homes) just 6 months after hand over, The builder briefly investigated the issue and then advised that it was not their problem and to contact the Bsa, what followed was a long process approximately 5 years. We had to engage our own engineer and perform our own tests and reports at our costs, At the end the Bsa underpinned the whole house 42 piers 6 meters deep. The engineer we hired was very helpful and was involved from start to finish including attending Bsa meetings. The Bsa spent the total insurance amount 200K plus our own contribution of approximately 90K. We also approached the Clarendon Homes at the end and asked if they would assist at least with the cosmetic work and they stated very abruptly no.