WA Country Builders to stop taking on new work as client complaints aired

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
WA Country Builders will stop taking on new work south of Margaret River.
Camera IconWA Country Builders will stop taking on new work south of Margaret River. Credit: Supplied

One of the region’s biggest home builders has put a limit on new projects amid backlash from clients furious about delays and quality of work.

WA Country Builders will not take on any new jobs south of Margaret River until some of its reported difficulties are resolved.

“This will assist us in prioritising the completion of homes currently under contract as quickly as possible,” a company spokesperson said.

“We understand that our clients have been awaiting the completion of their homes and we are working diligently to ensure that their expectations are met.”

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The company came under fire from some clients who have called in the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s industry watchdog for help.

“As a family owned WA company with over 20 years of experience building homes in this region, we understand the frustration that these delays can cause for both our clients and the community at large,” the spokesperson said.

“We cannot ignore the challenges posed in the residential construction industry, particularly in the Margaret River region, with the ongoing lack of available tradespeople and the consistent delays in sourcing materials such as concrete, windows, window frames and garage doors, to name a few.”

Clients canvassed by the Times claimed the builder was slow to communicate delays and address complaints about work that led to massive frustrations.

Margaret River’s Katherine Nielsen said her struggles started in 2020 and led to her filing a complaint with DMIRS’ Building and Energy regulator.

“They have installed our plumbing incorrectly, our toilet was leaking and water started dripping out of the wall, the waterproofing membrane wasn’t installed correctly, and our grout is deteriorating already,” she claimed.

“They had to rebuild our timber frames due to leaving them out in the weather for eight months and the frames were full of mould and started to rot. Then all the cladding needed to be redone. Our downpipes and box gutters all needed to be replaced. The windows were leaking. It’s just been an absolute disaster.”

Ms Nielsen said some building companies took on more clients than they could manage and should not shift the blame on to contractors.

Ryan Mahney said his new home took 22 months to build and claimed there were defects caused by materials left in the rain.

Like other clients, Mr Mahney said communication with the company was difficult and claimed tradespeople had been caught out with “misinformation” that created delays.

“Up until last year, I’d sent multiple emails and never got a response to anything,” he said.

“It was all just too hard and stressful. I’d posted to their social media attempting to draw attention and that didn’t even work. Honestly, builders from hell.”

Bridgetown’s Bridget Napier from said she also had to go to Building and Energy for what she claimed was “a complete lack of management and oversight” of her job.

She told the Times clients were afraid to speak out because their home repairs were on the line.

A Building and Energy spokesperson said its complaints data did not identify specific locations and the number of complaints were standard.

“Building complaints in the South West have remained steady for the past three years,” they said.

“The increase in complaints compared to 2020-21 is consistent with an increase in building activity.”

The spokesperson said clients could raise concerns around workmanship or home contract issues as an alternative to going to court.

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