The number of complaints made about questionable building work in Canberra tripled last financial year, with the vast majority of complaints for non-compliant or defective construction work.
Figures from Access Canberra, which receives complaints about construction work, show some 753 complaints were made to the construction occupations regulator in 2017-18, the highest level in the past three years.
While multiple complaints can be filed about the same developments, the high level of complaints come as the territory government has faced growing pressure over shoddy construction work and a lack of enforcement of its regulations.
The data shows the 753 complaints filed in 2017-18 was more than 300 per cent above the 166 complaints made in 2016-17 and well above the 177 complaints filed in 2015-16.
While the government could not provide breakdowns of the types of complaints made before June 30, 2017, breakdowns of complaints in the 18 months since then show the vast majority were for non-complaint or defective construction work.
In the last half of 2017, of the 332 complaints filed with the regulator, 126 were for non-compliant work, while 174 of the 391 complaints made in the first six months of 2018 were also reporting non-compliant work.
But the sheer number of complaints in the second half of 2018 fell to 265; only 31 of those were for non-compliant work, though a further 46 were filed under the new reporting category of building defects.
Prior to July 2017, successive annual reports of the constructions occupations and licensing regulator have highlighted non-compliant construction work as a key issue raised in complaints, with 133 demerit points issued to licensees in 2017-18.
Government figures also show in the last half of 2018, regulators issued 10 stop work notices, five directions for building work to be undertaken, one rectification order and 27 demerit points were issued to builders.
Master Builders' Association ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said he was not surprised by the increase in complaints, attributing it to higher levels of building activity across the capital and "greater consumer awareness of building quality issues".
He said the increase was also likely due to greater enforcement in the past year or so, after extra building inspectors were funded in the 2017-18 budget through an increase in the building levy.
Mr Hopkins said the association supported the government's current reforms to improve building quality, including more proactive audits and inspections and responding to complaints so building professionals were held to account.
A spokeswoman for Access Canberra said there were a range of reasons why complaints might rise or fall from one period to the next, including the volume and type of work completed in a particular period as well as compliance activity by inspectors.
But she was unable to explain why such a high proportion of complaints in the 18 months to the end of 2018 were for non-compliant or defective work, nor provide figures on how many of those complaints led to compliance action or rectification orders.
"The types of complaints as well as volume is closely monitored by the rapid regulatory response team to support their risk-based and evidence-driven approach to regulation," she said.
'It also assists in identifying areas of focus around information and evidence."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.