Darbecca

Darbecca Questions & Answers

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angeloferraro
angeloferraro

Hi, I am wondering if you routinely check whether or not a prospective inspector has a history of being a disqualified builder, either due to breaches to the relevant building act, or through insolvency due to a domestic building insurance claim being made against them by a former homeowner.

Darbecca
Darbecca   DM   

Yes, This is something I routinely carry out. If you are concerned by the background of one of my Consultant, please contact me directly via 03 5366 6900. Ask to speak with me only. Darren Love.

Pooja
Pooja

Hi Darbecca team, I am building with Porter davis and they have below requirement for an independent private inspector. Pleas confirm if you are one of the three below points so that I can hire you.

"What is the difference between registered & non registered independent inspection
services?
If you wish to engage an Independent Inspection Service there are many reputable qualified
inspection services, so we recommend you research the background and qualifications of those
companies.
We will engage and discuss any matters with our customers; however we will only formally respond
to the written reports of qualified inspection services. By qualified we mean someone who holds one
of the following qualifications.
 Registered Building Practitioner
 Licenced Engineer
 Licenced Building Surveyor
Those who are non‐qualified provide information that is of opinion only and as such we do not
engage in these types of reports."

Pooja
Pooja

Hi Darbecca team, I am building with Porter davis and they have below requirement for an independent private inspector. Pleas confirm if you are one of the three below points so that I can hire you.

"What is the difference between registered & non registered independent inspection
services?
If you wish to engage an Independent Inspection Service there are many reputable qualified
inspection services, so we recommend you research the background and qualifications of those
companies.
We will engage and discuss any matters with our customers; however we will only formally respond
to the written reports of qualified inspection services. By qualified we mean someone who holds one
of the following qualifications.
 Registered Building Practitioner
 Licenced Engineer
 Licenced Building Surveyor
Those who are non‐qualified provide information that is of opinion only and as such we do not
engage in these types of reports."

Darbecca
Darbecca   DM   

All of the talented staff at Darbecca have both registration or university qualifications that is detailed on the reports.

However you have to question why a builder would put such a stupid condition into a building contract. It is our understanding that the builder cannot enforce this condition. If you read section 132 of the domestic building contracts act, conditions like this are voided. That section makes any condition that voids the homeowners rights unenforceable.

The legislation in Victoria clearly states that the homeowner may have any person conduct an inspection and write a report. Not only that the legislation goes on to state that the builder must make all parts of the building work available for inspection.

I have always been of the opinion that good quality reporting assists not just the homeowner but also the builder. That being that a builder is paying the trade on behalf of the homeowner to carry out the job. When Darbecca arrives, or any other competent service, we detail what the trade has done wrong, not the builder. Yes the builder is the head contractor , however in reality we have saved the builder from a trade that is done the wrong thing.

Sometimes it takes many years for a defect to manifest itself. Years after the trade is long gone, picked up shop, or skipped town. Who is left holding the bag then. The builder who put a special condition like this into a contract.

Our qualifications are listed on our website and at the base of everyone of our emails. Rest assured that Darbecca will assist with supporting all of our reports. I can’t say the same for the builder.

Darren Love

George Theodoridis
George Theodoridis

Can Darbecca represent you at Vicat if you ended up through the DBDRV and builder is not agreeing to have items rectified

Darbecca
Darbecca   DM   

This is a long and complex answer however I will endeavour to assist with the criteria that needs to be met prior to going to VCAT.

1. The applicant needs to have a case that is more than just principal. What I mean by this is the case has to have some substance inasmuch as there’s no point in spending $100,000 on a VCAT case when the repair cost maybe $5000.

That’s right $100,000+ is a reasonable assessment of a standard case. Then we move into more complex matters which require engineers and fire engineers and moisture experts and mould experts, and we are starting to move towards the $150,000 to $200,000 cost. All of which must be funded by the homeowner.

2. Darbecca does not represent the homeowner. Once the case is launched Darbecca must remain completely independent and be allowed to express expert opinion without influence from the homeowner. That is one of the requirements of preparing a VCAT 2 practice note.

3. Darbecca are not lawyers. However clients trying to bring a case often try to represent themselves. Darbecca will have no part of this as it is our experience that anyone that tries to represent themselves will generally lose. Why because the process is extremely complex with lots of different phraseology that takes a legal mind to navigate. Unfortunately our experience has been that when clients tried to represent themselves in the past, we end up getting asked all sorts of legal questions which we refused to answer. This often leads to distrust and a breakdown in the relationship. Remember we are not there as an advocate. We are there as an independent person to represent what we see to the person sitting behind the bench at VCAT.

4. Darbecca will only assist clients where we have had previous interactions through all stages of the build. We will not take on new cases where we have not been involved in the process from start to finish. The main reason behind this is the cost of doing up an expert report in this case can run into the tens of thousands of dollars due to the time factors, investigation process, the need to employ other experts such as engineers or fire engineers which clients very really wish to pay.

5. Darbecca will only assist after reviewing the contents of any outstanding matters based on our previous reports. A lot of the time it comes down to the Cost of the process is greater than the cost to rectify.

6. A VCAT case from the time of launching to the time and conclusion can be up to 3 to 4 years. When taking on a case, the commitment for Darbecca is for that period of time. The homeowner needs to be aware that the process is not quick and it is not the fault of Darbecca when things drag out.

7. To be perfectly clear, Darbecca will only accept a case when there is legal representation by a qualified construction lawyer. That is a lawyer that specialises in construction matters.

8. Lastly, the VCAT environment is not friendly to experts. More and more we are finding that experts are refusing to accept cases due to the manner in which they are treated inside on that environment. The main reason behind that is the process itself places a person that is not a lawyer into a situation whereby you must give an opinion in a manner that is acceptable to a lawyer. The environment can be extremely harsh which I’m finding more and more experts are walking away from.

9. Given all of the above, unless a case Is clear, and all of the above criteria have been considered, Darbecca will not assist. This also includes Item 8. If the case is weak in any way then Darbecca will not allow any of its staff to be ridiculed by the process. More than happy to assist however it’s based on the above criteria.

I hope this assists.

Darren Love

Anna D
Anna D

Hi
I have been advised that as Darbecca are not registered building surveyors if something ends up in VCAT it gets thrown out due to the fact your not registered surveryors. Can you advise if this is correct.?
Thanks Anna

Svdl
Svdl  

Hi Anna,
When you receive the report from down the bottom it says if your needing it for vcat they can format it for vcat, and if you have a lawyer and real things wrong with your house it won’t get thrown out. As I’m aware they are inspectors. But for example you could get me to do your inspection and I could tell you things that are wrong and not intolerances with your house and if you took what I said to vcat the fact that your house isn’t up to standard is what the case will be on not who said what. It’s on facts you could even do your own research into what to look for and not pay anyone. But from my experience it was great hiring someone else who worked with us to understand what was wrong how things are wrong and what is acceptable and what’s not. And unfortunately me and my husband don’t have all the knowledge to look at every trades work to pick up on things but getting the report done. Showed us what we would never have noticed until it would break or we would have problem. But they wouldn’t throw your case out. If your building I’d say use them and maybe call vcat and ask but as I’m aware I can bring in their photos or mine or both and show facts.
Hope that helps

Darbecca
Darbecca   DM   

Dear Anna, This is a complex response. Please take the time to read through all parts.

1. Registered inspectors are only responsible for structural defects as per The Building Act Vic (Law) which is administered by the Victorian Building Authority. Even then they do miss items.
2. Darbecca will not only look at structural items, they then look at all the other items that builders must do, however are not the responsibility of the Registered Inspector. These items generally come under the Domestic Building Contracts Act (Law) which is administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria Government.
3. Given that Darbecca cross over both Acts which are the responsibility of two different Victorian Government Agencies, No registration has ever been agreed to by either Agency.
4. The builder must fix all defects brought to their attention, both Structural and Cosmetic. It is in the Domestic Building Contracts Act (Law). It is also in most Building Contracts.
5. Darbecca would welcome these two agencies (Vic Building Authority and Consumer Affairs) getting together and finding a class of registration, then two things would occur.
Firstly the quality of the inspectors would be set at a industry level that would demonstrate some level of competence. Currently anybody can put out a shingle and state that they are qualified.
Secondly the builders would not be able to put fear doubt and uncertainty into the home owners mind by stating that the inspector is not registered. A tactics often used by many a Site Supervisor.
6. It is worth noting that there is no registration for Site Managers/Supervisors, Construction Managers or Building Managers. The only person in a building company that must be registered in the person at the top. The builder. In big companies, I would be very surprised if they went to every site and checked on the quality if at all.
7. Finally, a little known fact is that the Home Owner is the one held accountable under Law for the quality of the build and the Compliance with all regulations. Not the Builder or the Registered Surveyor and or his Registered Inspectors..
The Law is very clear that the home owner who may or may not have any understanding of the rules carries this burden. Hence why we do what we do. As an example, if you lived in your home for a couple of years, then there was an issue that the local council discovered, the Council would put orders on the home owner to fix. Then it becomes a legal battle between the home owner and the builder/Surveyor as to who is going to pay. However in the mean time, the home owner carries the burden in all matters.

The only reason why a Darbecca report are not VCAT compliant right at the start is they take more work to produce up front and most builders would fix the defects that Darbecca bring to their attention. However if the builders refuses, Darbecca have been to VCAT on many occasions and delivered expert evidence regardless of any Registration. The report is then converted to the VCAT format in compliance with PN2.

Note: In other states where the State Government has registration for processes like what Darbecca does, Darbecca holds those licenses.

I hope this helps.

Darren Love and the Darbecca Team.

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