Building Mistakes – Are They Funny?

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Of course not, but it’s not uncommon to see photos of building mistakes featured in the media, very often labelled as being “funny”. It would also be true to say that the owners of those buildings where the mistakes were made rarely ever share in the humour. Neverthe less this month we’ll try to look on the funny side of some of these mistakes and poke a bit of fun at them.

Usually what precludes the owners from seeing the funny side of things is that there is always a cost to rectify the situation, if it can be rectified at all, and usually an argument over who will foot the bill.

Surely that’s not funny at all. So why does the media often highlight them as being funny. Maybe it’s simply clickbait, suggesting stupidity, in the mad scramble on the internet to gain likes or views, but there is a serious side to these things as they usually could have – should have been – avoided.

building mistakes
Now here’s a cookie cutter solution! This could have easily been avoided. Apparently No one thought that this home may have worked better if it was mirror reversed on site. We imagine that the driveway will be well lit though.

We’re not talking about poor quality workmanship here. Not always, but invariably, these mistakes can be traced back to poor design and a lack of proper planning and supervision. It’s not uncommon that the builder gets the blame for the mistakes for simply building ‘what’s in the approved plans’.

If the builder has also taken on that design and project management role then the buck stops with him, but while they often willingly offer design, they rarely take on responsibility for managing the overall job. That’s left to the owner.


building mistakes
Setback? It is possible to gain a relaxation for set backs – something that may have been handy to have here. It would have also helped with taking out the wheelie bin.

Building Mistakes – Why Do They Happen?

Frequently mistakes can then be traced back to inadequate site information, including a lack of information about what lies just outside the site too. This is where a good quality Site Plan is a worthwhile investment.

Many of these building mistakes relate to poor drainage which happen because insufficient detail or no detail at all of what surrounds the site is captured.

Drainage has to be one of the easier tasks that invariably gets completed poorly or missed out altogether. It’s not rocket science – you must allow for rainwater! You’ve probably seen it, where rainwater is left to discharge onto the ground or somewhere that it’s expected that it will run uphill – this is a big ‘no-no’ as it always leads to problems.

It’s a problem that is frequently seen when homes have been lifted to build underneath with a view to providing extra living space. Even if it’s only for storage nobody wants their precious possessions to become sodden every time it rains. If this isn’t addressed at the designing and planning stage and your builder judiciously follows the plans without recognizing the problem, as often happens, it’s usually a huge problem to rectify down the track. It’s one of the less obvious things that we as Project Managers look out for.

building mistakes
Rainwater not admitted – Here’s one solution to stop rainwater coming through the side door but it may lead to a few stubbed toes
building mistakes
Miscalculating floor heights to plan for site drainage and take account of overland flow can lead to expensive problems – but it may save on carwash


And it’s not always things that are in plain sight that can cause problems. The obstruction may be above, necessitating adequate clearance above, though it is often below such as underground electricity or telephone cables. It’s not uncommon for sewerage pipes and water supply pipes to be placed very close to front boundaries, especially with upward sloping blocks, which can become problematic if you need to excavate.

Many of these building mistakes relate to stairs or access ramps which are things that rely on accurate base levels information. This can also lead to problems with floor heights especially with extensions to existing homes. The number of different ways builders can botch new floor heights is remarkable… an example would be where the new floor is a step UP from the main house because the builder didn’t drop the ground level by a fraction more.

building mistakes
Anyone for Murderball? Miscalculating floor heights and distances can even be life threatening
building mistakes
another miscalculation of heights and distance – 4 wheel drive vehicles are a necessity in this neighbourhood!

One would hope that most mistakes miscalculating the floor height of additions wouldn’t be as bad as the one shown above, and in our experience, they are not, but it does illustrate the point. What we do know is that even small floor height variations can become a real annoyance as many a stubbed toe will testify.

Don’t forget your neighbours!

building mistakes
Hmm – we wonder where the boundary is here? Looks like a definite case of encroachment! At least the lower neighbour can easily practice hurdles, though mowing the grass might become a problem


Speaking of neighbours, here’s a word that both builders and homeowners alike are unfamiliar with – until they experience it – and we can tell you now that it can lead to a battle with your neighbours but it’s not a battle you want to be engaged in! That word is ‘encroachment’.


Encroachment happens when you build over a boundary line – that is, onto someone else’s property. And it’s not always restricted to ‘physical ground’, but can include pipes, gutters, retaining walls and so on.


In the majority of cases the builder carries out the encroachment in pure ignorance – because it hadn’t been clearly identified in the plans leaving you with a nasty bill to put right, or legal fees should your neighbours decide to sue.

Finally – Privacy is a worthwhile consideration that’s not just limited to high-rise apartments when building or extending or even building a Granny Flat. Try not to upset the neighbours, it can become troublesome! Due consideration needs to be given at the planning stage of what is next door when deciding things like windows, decks and locating things like bedrooms. And yes, these days with smaller and smaller lots being the only affordable choice for many there is still no substitute for thoughtful planning based on accurate information

A good Site Plan upfront would help to enable both these issue, and the other issues we’ve mentioned earlier, to be avoided. Competent project management will ensure that they are.

If you have a project in mind that you’d prefer it progressed smoothly please give us a call on [+61 7] 33697772




building mistakes

Wondering what the neighbours are having for dinner? Just step outside.

Things could become more than just a bit cosy if they have a BBQ on their patio