Dodgy building work has been a hot topic here since before the turn of the century, yet little progress seems to have been made in dealing with the problem.
Now the Masters Builders Association of the ACT has put a dollar value on the issue.
MBA ACT CEO Mike Hopkins said on Wednesday shonky building work had cost the Territory almost $1 billion in the last 10 years.
While some will question the MBA's estimate, there is reason to believe the figure could be higher. Not all instances of faulty work are fixed under warranty and some body corporates are reluctant to take action against builders through the courts because of the likely impact of negative publicity on unit values.
Nothing, not even high profile Federal Government projects are immune. The National Portrait Gallery was completed in 2008 at a cost of $87 million. More than $700,000 was spent on repairs in 2012. The gallery is to be closed for six months next year for further repairs which could cost millions.
Apartment dwellers, the owners of free standing homes and of commercial properties have all come forward with horror stories over the years.
Common themes include builders going bankrupt, builders not building to the plan, building certifiers alleged working more closely with the builders than the clients they are supposed to represent, and the use of non compliant and substandard materials.
The 162 kilometres of defective "Infinity" brand electrical cable sold and installed in the ACT from 2011 to 2013 is just one example of the kinds of issues building owners are facing.
Then there are the genuine con artists; clever operators who "buy" work by undercutting legitimate builders and then either go bust trying to deliver or cut so many corners the end result is so substandard sometimes it is cheaper to knock it down and start again.
This magic formula is faciliated by the ease with which building licences could be obtained up until very recently and the ability for a failed builder to use a licensed builder as their nominee. In some cases one builder might be acting as the nominee for multiple building companies.
There are some things the ACT Government could do immediately.
One is tightening up existing building licence regulation, registration and compliance and the introduction, as called for by the MBA, of engineer and trade contractor licences in conjunction with mandatory training.
Another is to accept that outsourcing building inspections to private contractors and moving towards a paper based compliance formula, as opposed to site visits, has been an abysmal failure. This needs to be revisited with a view to restoring faith in the system.
The third, and most crucial, is for Access Canberra to accept its responsibilities extend beyond issuing building licences, rubber stamping building approvals and collecting the money.
If the ACT Government won't act to protect its ratepayers against dodgy workmanship and shonky builders, building inspectors and contractors then who will?