BUILDING inspectors have uncovered a slew of compliance breaches on Bendigo construction sites amid a statewide rise in known problems.
It coincides with a COVID-19 construction boom that has potentially increased safety and financial risks for budding homeowners.
The number of building permits approved in north central Victoria last year surged by more than 14 per cent.
Defective building and plumbing issues increased by seven per cent across Victoria in the three months to December 31, new Victorian Building Authority figures show.
Authorities intensified their focus on the city's demolition and construction industry including with "targeted inspections", which the VBA says targets sites of interest.
One multi-agency blitz is taking place in Bendigo right now. Authorities are yet to publicly detail what they have found during those site visits.
By December 31, inspectors had found the key plumbing issues were gutters not being constructed appropriately, below-ground sewer drains that were broken or not installed correctly, and damaged heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
The major constriction issues were around timber framing, wet areas and waterproofing and steep framing.
Fire resistance was a major issue for commercial buildings.
Builders and plumbers wanted to do the right thing, VBA state building surveyor Andrew Cialini said.
"That's why we are building a risk-based regulatory model that will encourage and incentivise good behaviour, while discouraging poor performance that ultimately impacts consumers," he said.
Meanwhile, there are signs the building boom has eased and that housing supplies will continue to tighten, putting more pressure on builders and inspectors to make sure their work is up to scratch before people move in.
Australia's housing shortages will probably continue for years, BuyersBuyers founder Pete Wargent said, late last month.
"Rental vacancy rates at the national level are already at the lowest levels in over 15 years, even before immigration ramps up again," he said.
Rising materials and trades costs will keep creating issues, he said as he pointed to developer Probuild's collapse.
It could be a sign of more insolvencies to come.
"There's never only one cockroach, as the saying goes," Mr Wargent said.
There are also signs that Bendigo's most vulnerable people will continue to face higher risks of homelessness even as the economy rebounds from the pandemic.
The City of Greater Bendigo recently reversed a lockdown-era policy allowing homeless people to camp in a Huntly park even as it conceded housing shortages were not going away.
People living in the park expressed frustration with the council's decision to try to revoke the park's camping status.
"There's nowhere else to go," one resident who asked not to be identified said.
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