The Defects Dilemma initiative is a continuation of several decades of research by Dr Drane across several academic institutions including Macquarie Graduate School of Management (1992 and 2010), UNSW Built Environment ( 2011 to 2015) and then Western Sydney University School of Business (2016 to 2018).

The most recent summary of the research is titled ‘The State of Contemporary Property Development Structures’ which was the subject of an initial seed grant and then a early career research fellowship grant in 2017-8.

Understanding Defects: An historical perspective: Abstract of Paper by Dr Drane

Defects have plagued buildings for decades if not longer, and no more so than in the post war era of the private developer and with the emergence of the ‘design and construct’ project- the sister act of development as a private system of creation of our titled buildings.

Although many D&C projects are created with minimal defects, the practice of D&C and its evolution out of the previous Architect and Master Builder era, has a large part to play.

This paper takes us through a brief history lesson including the emergence of private property development and D&C in the post-WWII era, and the associated vulnerability of standards of construction across professions and regulatory systems. The erosion of the regulatory process, both professional and authority-based, is also revealed in the emergence of private certification and the dilemma of the slippery deal. The end product of such a system is illustrated with a ‘horror’ case example of one of its offspring.

Finally a ‘Defects Scenario Matrix’ is put forward for ways to keep a handle on defects on the D&C project based on a review of the horror case example and then a case example with a low defects regime.

Read Jonathan’s paper:

Drane 2015- Defects A Builders View

Dr Jonathan Drane