Alternative Solution

No, I don’t mean building with another builder :-p

Porter Davis currently use an “Alternative Solution” for their waterproofing. One would just assume that they waterproof to the Australian Standard, but this is not the case. Most people don’t realise until they see the waterproofing and wonder where the rest of it is. “It’s not what it looks like when they do it on The Block”. That they start to ask questions and find out about Porter Davis waterproofing policies.


The Alternative Solution is noted in the contract as a small one-liner. “As per alternative Solution provided to the building surveyor.”

Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 9.25.43 am

This means that as the client, we don’t even get to see a copy of the alternative solution before signing the contract.

We found out from other fellow builders on the HomeOne website that PD is going to stop using their alternative solution, some people already had their houses waterproofed to AUS standards and other’s continued to get the Alternative Solution.
So what is the Alternative Solution?
It’s a “water resistant” finish by definition.

This alternate solution was never actually discussed with us at our appointments but essentially it allows Porter Davis to have a surveyor sign off on a solution that essentially replaces waterproofing in the wet areas with water resistant products.

Essentially leaving it up to the owner to ensure maintenance of the the wet areas is completed yearly to ensure no water seeps through the cracks literally. So when using the wet areas for their functionality, such as showering or a bath, if you get water on the ground, you need to clean it straight away.


The solution itself is a generic solution that isn’t house specific from what I can tell.

What annoys me the most is that water proofing wet areas, especially upstairs to me seems like it should be standard practice (well it is based on the AS 3740 building standard), unless you provide a alternate solution. It just feels like the alternate solution is blatant cost cutting rather then actually providing a viable solution to ensure their homes have lasting quality and longevity.

I’d rather sacrifice other things in my house then the waterproofing of my bathrooms.


Now technically speaking, PD or any other builder providing the solution isn’t doing anything wrong. However I feel that it compromises the quality of their homes in such a way that provokes people to be outrages when they hear about it..

Below are some photos of PD clients waterproofing of the alternative solution.
(not my house – some lovely people on Facebook and HomeOne let me steal them)
Below is a link to the alternative Solution in all its 44 pages of glory.
Our Building Co-ordinator confirmed that they may be waterproofing to Australian Standards but it depends on whats in your contract.
The Alternative Solution that Porter Davis uses is expiring soon, the 10th of May to be precise. We signed our contract in November and it was included, however, we will not be ready to waterproofing before the 10th of May 2018, so we are in a bit of a grey area.
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 10.09.23 am.png
Reading the document above, this also makes you think what are these other Alternative Solutions or Performance Solutions… what the hell do they do to the masonry and staircase handrails???
So we wrote the following email to our BC:
“In respect to the change in Porter Davis’ policy regarding waterproofing, could you please raise a BV that corrects clause 21.5 in the Porter Davis Homes Standard Contract Specifications.  We have signed the contract under the old policy, but would appreciate if a BV could be raised to clarify that we will now have our house wet areas waterproofed to the latest Australian building standards AS3740-2010 and NOT to the alternative solution provided by Stuart McLennan Progressive Building Solutions in their Building Code of Australia 2016 – Performance Solution Report issued to Porter Davis Homes on 28 May 2017.”
It took our BC a few days to get the BV raised.  I think she had to have a conversation with her manager to clarify if they would do as I had asked.
We eventually got a BV with the following correction to our contract.
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 10.15.15 pm.png
Something to note, when we got this BV (Building Variation) issued, we were post contract but pre-site start, we had not yet been handed over to the construction team. I’m not sure if this makes a difference or not.
We did not get charged any fee’s for having this change made.
This option runs out in May this year, but we felt it is safer to have the contract changed via a Post Contract Variation or a Building Variation (depending on where you are in the contract process).  Just in case they decide to employ some other option after this policy expires.
Edit 22.2.2018
One of my readers has let me know their progress on getting this changed in their contract. The below is an email to him from his BC.

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