Waffle slabs

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Waffle slabs

Postby Andyfteeze » Thu Dec 11, 2014 4:51 pm

Just had an interesting court case in melbourne reguarding "waffle" slabs

Metricon ordered to rebuild four-year-old cracking Melton West home

Waffle 'slab heave' thought to be undermining thousands of new homes
It cost them precisely $199,897.01. In return, they were meant to get their dream house.

It feels fantastic that they have acknowledged that we were not going crazy.
Shelley Softley

"We were very excited," says Earl Softley. "We were out there every week, taking progress pictures."
The reality, once they moved into their new three-bedroom-plus-rumpus Melton West home, was shocking.
Within three months large cracks had opened in plasterboards, cornices were separating from bowing ceilings, and skirting boards were coming off.
"Slab heave" is thought to have affected thousands of new homes in Melbourne's outer north-west, where volatile soil movements cause walls to crack, doors and windows to jam, and floors to tilt.
Among them was Mr Softley and his wife Shelley's home in Long Tree Drive, which lifted 44 millimetres at one end, 16 millimetres at the other.
An engineer's report found the lifting distorted their home's timber frame. In one part of the house near the toilet and laundry, the brickwork cracked so badly eight metres of it needs replacing.
For four years, she says, the cracking and shifting had meant doors and windows repeatedly wouldn't shut. "Currently our sliding doors won't close."
It is the second time Metricon has been ordered to rebuild a faulty house.
In April, Graham Hooper won the cost of replacing his Tarneit house. Metricon in that case also argued problems with the house's slab were due to Mr Hooper's garden landscaping. Metricon appealed that ruling and is awaiting a decision.
Lawyers Slater and Gordon acted for the Softleys. Associate Robert Auricchio says the decision is important for others whose new homes have been affected by slab heave.
These residents are, he says, "literally watching their homes cracking and falling apart around them". The law firm has been contacted by more than 100 other home owners in conditions similar to the Softleys'.
Thousands of homes in city-fringe estates may be similarly affected, in a trend being blamed on "waffle slab" foundations.
Waffle slabs "float" on top of compacted ground and are cheaper and quicker to build than traditional footings.
But often they sit on top of highly reactive clay soils that can move dramatically.
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