HUNDREDS of homes in Monash have had illegal building works or renovations done to them, inspections have revealed.

A recent report by Archicentre has shown that of the 3067 houses inspected since 1996, 27 percent had illegal works carried out on them.

Archicentre’s Reno Watch report monitors consumers who have been “ripped off” by works that are illegal, dangerous, or carried out by unregistered builders and traders.

Archicentre director David Hallet said some alarming stories were coming out from the Reno Watch files.

“A famous one was the burglars who dressed up as termite inspectors. They evacuated the household of an elderly couple and then looted the place.”

Mr. Hallet said the most notorious case left a homeowner distraught after an illegal builder collected a huge deposit and then vanished without a trace.

“While the vast majority of builders and tradespeople are reputable traders there are also plenty of dodgy operators who undermine the industry by massively overcharging or taking a large deposit and disappearing.”

Archicentre managing director Robert Caulfield said the state average for illegal building works was 30 percent.

“It’s pleasing to see that Monash is 3 percent below the state average.

“A lot of it’s to do with the age of the houses. In areas like Monash, there are a lot of newer brick veneer homes and over the years they haven’t had as many renovations as older homes.

“But it’s still very disturbing that 27 percent of the homes we have inspected in the area have had work done that contravenes the building codes.”

Mr. Caulfield said in some circumstances the illegal building work could pose a danger to residents.

“We have seen a significant number of properties where the homeowners themselves have decided to build a balcony using the wrong sorts of timbers which aren’t capable of doing the job properly.

“In Australia alone, there are half a dozen home owner-constructed balconies that collapse every year and it’s usually when a lot of people are out on them during a party.

“The message we’re sending out is to do the job properly with a permit, and anyone purchasing a home should get it professionally checked.”