THE construction scandal engulfing Australia is becoming so dangerous a property expert has revealed foam fake bricks are being used in shoddy homes by dodgy builders.
National building and property maintenance consultant Roscon Property Services said developers were putting residents at risk by using polystyrene bricks to cut costs on the “Esky” homes.
It comes as one of Australia’s biggest insurance companies told a Senate inquiry that eco-friendly building laws are creating death traps.
Senator Nick Xenophon demanded a ban on flammable foam imports, and will introduce a private member’s bill to parliament this year to protect homeowners.
“The government should stop dithering because we need a total ban — this is a ticking time bomb,’’ he said.
Roscon general manager Sahil Bhasin said builders rendered the lightweight polystyrene walls so they resembled real brick work — and buyers only discovered they had a foam home when it started leaking.
“From the exterior it looks like a brand new solid brick home that’s been rendered,’’ he said. “You could just slice open the house. In 30 or 40 years all these homes will have to be demolished.’’
Mr Bhasin said polystyrene walls were legal because the National Construction Code was changed in 1996 to let builders use “alternative solutions’’ to brick and timber.
“(Developers) are using polystyrene as a shortcut in the building process to save costs and get around the ‘green’ building laws. Buildings should be made to last but they’re being built as disposable items,’’ Mr Bhasin said.
Meanwhile, insurance giant IAG has blamed “green’’ energy-efficiency targets for the popularity of combustible cladding.
“Some green materials such as this cladding do increase the building’s susceptibility to fire,’’ it told the Senate inquiry into dodgy building.