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PNG – A Dumping Ground for Inferior Housing

PNG is unfortunately a dumping ground for all kinds of inferior products such as electronic goods, clothing, food, etc.  Unfortunately for people wanting to purchase their own home, whether it’s to live in or for investment purposes, we’ve also become a bit of a dumping ground for inferior houses and building products.
Co-Founder and Director of PNG construction company Rhodes (PNG) Limited, Andrew Avenell, believes that his  industry should be doing everything it can to mitigate the building and selling of sub-standard homes.  He says that one way to prevent more of these types of houses coming on to the market is to reduce the demand for them through educating the house-buying public.  “PNG currently has a relatively unsophisticated house-buying market with many buyers being the first generation in their family to take out a bank loan to purchase a modern, or western-style, house.  People need to be aware that sub-standard homes are on the market and they also need to know how to avoid them. “
The advice Rhodes is giving people is to do their homework, shop around, and ask lots of questions.  People have the right to insist on quality and most importantly, ask for evidence of quality.  For example, customers can ask builders and building product suppliers to show them mill certificates to prove that the steel they’re using is high quality galvanised steel as opposed to low carbon and therefore low quality steel.  Likewise, they can demand evidence of Australian Standard (or equivalent) building products and fit out materials.  If the builder can’t or won’t produce the evidence then it’s a reasonable indicator that something is amiss and that the quality of the building is potentially suspect.
Other advice Rhodes is giving house buyers is that their home will last longer if they frame it with steel rather than wood.  There is obvious self-interest in this advice as Rhodes builds with steel.  However, it’s a fact that good quality steel framed homes have a design life of 50+ years whereas good quality termite treatments are typically only guaranteed for a maximum of 25 years.  Avenell points out that most people don’t stop to think of the difference between termite ‘resistant’ and termite  ‘proof’.  Steel is termite proof but timber is not.
A significant consideration when it comes to buying a house is obviously affordability.  Advances in technology have resulted in more affordable building materials and building techniques such as prefabricated builds and therefore lower priced homes.  However, there are factors to consider other than just what’s on the price tag.  It’s not only the initial deposit plus regular mortgage payments that people need to be able to afford but also insurance, maintenance, electricity, and water.  Families are wise to choose a home that minimises these ongoing costs.  For example, a home built from quality materials by a reputable builder will have fewer maintenance requirements and potentially lower insurance premiums than a lesser quality home.  Installing solar panels, implementing passive cooling design elements, and water recycling will further decrease the costs of home ownership.  These are also important in terms of sustainability and minimising the construction industry’s environmental footprint.
Last year’s Real Estate Show provided PNG’s house-buying market with all sorts of valuable information and helped educate potential buyers.  Rhodes believes that construction companies also need to play a role in educating home buyers with Avenell saying “the more we do this, the more difficult it will be for unethical companies to dump inferior homes on the market and take advantage of PNG families.”

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