Building inspectors have stopped work on 17 non-compliant residential building sites in Gungahlin this week, citing exposed steel reinforcement in concrete, poorly installed window flashings and timber framing that left the structural integrity of buildings at risk.
The unusual crackdown has seen Access Canberra issue 12 building companies with notices over the defects.
The blitz suggests home builders won't escape new scrutiny on Canberra building standards, after the industry was rocked by a series of revelations about defects in apartment buildings.
ACT construction occupations registrar Ben Green confirmed the sites were homes, but was unable to say which companies were involved or where the construction sites were located.
No individual builders received notices, he said.
Mr Green said the blitz - which relied on regular auditing, information from the public and complaints - was part of a change in how Access Canberra tackled building compliance issues.
"You'll see more notices being issued where there's grounds to do so and where that's a proportionate response," he said.
He said the notices didn't point to widespread issues in the construction industry but it was important to tackle building defects before they caused problems later.
"We can either stop it now before it gets covered up in gyprock, for example, and then manifests as a later defect somewhere down the path."
Mr Green said stopping projects usually led to quick action and most of the defects could have been prevented by builders spending more time supervising their tradespeople.
"If the builders were out on-site more regularly in these circumstances, they would have been able to identify these issues and deal with them before they ended up the way they were," he said.
Access Canberra also targeted builders with a poor compliance history, Mr Green said.
Building Quality Minister Gordon Ramsay said the government was committed to building quality improvement and was taking action to hold builders accountable.
"If youre a builder who adheres to current and future construction standards, we welcome your business and the jobs your company creates, but if youre not meeting those standards, we will stop you in your tracks," he said.
Mr Ramsay said a growing city needed to make sure building work complied with ACT and national building standards.
Since July, Access Canberra has issued 132 demerit points to construction licensees, one rectification order and nine notices for building work to be undertaken.
"This activity on the ground is working to ensure that what is being built in the ACT is to standard and meets the expectation of our community," Mr Green said.
ACT Master Builders Association chief executive Michael Hopkins said the association welcomed the audit on the Gungahlin houses.
"Building quality will only improve in the ACT when all levels of government and industry work together to raise the minimum standard of building construction and compliance," he said.
"Raising the minimum standard of design and building quality will protect the many quality building practitioners that operate in the ACT."
The housing boom in Canberra in the last decade is the largest on record for the city, and construction experts have raised concerns about the quality of high-rise apartment buildings.
Rules requiring all new Canberra builders to pass an examination before being granted a licence came into effect this week.
The new rules were part of a suite of 43 building-regulation reforms announced by the ACT government in 2016 and now slated for full implementation by October 2020. So far, 14 measures are in place with a further 14 expected by June 28.