House Damage And Settlement

  • Extensive cracking to the dwelling was encountered

In the late 1970s, a subdivision was constructed in Tamworth that involved the filling of a natural drainage path.  Subsequently, building works were undertaken on one of the allotments that had been filled;  the house then suffered serious structural damage.  As a result, the property owner complained to the NSW Building Services Corporation, with the result that some underpinning and other repair works were carried out to the building.

In the late 1990s further damage appeared in the building, and the property owner commissioned several engineering experts to investigate the problem;  complaints were also lodged with the Council.  These complaints included an allegation that the Council stormwater drain installed under the roadway was leaking into the fill, and was thus the cause of the additional damage.

Despite these complaints, and the engagement of a variety of legal persons / engineering experts by the property owner, the Council continued to deny any liability.

In late 2010, and after the appointment of new legal counsel, SCE was engaged to investigate & advise on the matter.  The SCE investigations resulted in the determination that the Council's stormwater line had triggered further settlement of the fill;  as such, the stormwater line was causally related to the damage that had occurred in the building.

An additional factor in the damage was the failure of Council to advise the original builder and engineer, of the existence of the fill on the land which had been approved by the Council during the subdivision.

After an extended legal hearing & appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal, the matter was settled, with the Council making a very substantial payment to the property owner.