'Uninhabitable': Geocon settles lawsuit over alleged defective home

Canberra construction giant Geocon has quietly resolved a matter out of court after a woman began proceedings to sue the company for breach of contract and negligence.

In documents lodged with the ACT Magistrates Court, the woman claimed for more than $100,000 to recover costs she had borne after purchasing an allegedly defective Geocon unit.

Geocon's Observatory Living development in Wright. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Geocon's Observatory Living development in Wright. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

The claim alleged Geocon failed to construct the unit to a safe standard, which subjected the owner to risks to her health and safety. It further alleged that Geocon refused to fix the issues with the unit.

In November 2015 the woman paid $355,990 for the unit, which is part of Geocon's Observatory Living development in Wright.

The documents stated that immediately upon entry to the unit the woman found it to be "defective and leaking".

A report referenced in the claim, completed by Ansary Engineering Consultants, described the unit as "uninhabitable".

The court documents listed numerous alleged defects the woman discovered after purchasing the property, revolving mainly around leaking water.

The carpets were soaked and stained, there was the presence of mould and there was a wet material smell, the documents indicated.

There were allegedly leaks from both the main bathroom and ensuite due to failure in the silicone membrane. This led to carpet becoming damp in multiple areas of the unit.

A woman sued Geocon after she claimed the property she purchased in the Observatory Living development was defective. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

A woman sued Geocon after she claimed the property she purchased in the Observatory Living development was defective. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

In a statement, Geocon said a matter had been raised by a purchaser and the matter had since been dismissed by the court without any costs awarded.

"Geocon has resolved the matter to the satisfaction of all parties," the statement read.

"At Geocon we take all matters raised by owners very seriously and manage this process through our dedicated customer care team."

However this statement is at odds with the claim by the owner, as expressed in court documents, that the owner reported the defects to Geocon immediately and during the defects' liability period as spelled out in the contract of sale.

The documents state Geocon "persistently refused or neglected to rectify the defects" even after the owner notified the company of the issues numerous times, both in writing and verbally.

The owner claimed that due to the alleged defective construction and refusal to fix reported issues she had suffered significant financial loss.

She made a claim for $106,842.74, which covered electricity, gas, water and body corporate fees for the period in which the owner was required to vacate the property. The woman moved into her parents' home because of the defects in her purchased home.

The figure also included costs for the various reports the woman commissioned to prove the extent of the defects, and building rectification the owner herself paid to have completed.

Geocon had filed an intention to respond to the claim with the ACT Magistrates Court before the matter was settled out of court and the case dismissed.

Geocon has developments in every major town centre in Canberra and refers to itself as the largest supplier of dwellings in the ACT.