1. Home Owners, Complainants


In 2007 we built a new 350sqm two storey brick clad dwelling on the coast at Weymouth. It was constructed by a well-known housing company and the brick cladding installed by an individual who promotes himself as a ‘Master Bricklayer’.The council had done all their inspections and had passed the brickwork and approved the Code Compliance Certificate ready for posting. We were far from happy with the quality of the brickwork on our new home, even after the bricklayer had returned several times to try and address some of our concerns.

We made some enquiries and John Oliver of Brick Consulting Ltd, the author of John Oliver’s BRICK BOOK, was recommended to us as the country’s expert in brick veneer construction and the systems used to build two storey dwellings. We immediately engaged John’s services, and based on his first inspection he promptly advised the council not to issue the CCC as there were serious concerns, which thankfully they did not.

The detailed report he prepared for us listed 11 issues relating to poor workmanship, 14 issues of non-compliance with building standards and a further 7 issues he had concerns about. He advised it was one of the worst examples of bricklaying he had ever seen. The end result was the complete removal and replacement, at no charge to us, of the 15,000 bricks on our new home, under John’s supervision; – the total cost of this exercise was in the order of $100,000.

We found John Oliver to be professional, knowledgeable, reliable and well respected in the building industry. If you are concerned about the quality of your bricks or bricklaying, I can highly recommend engaging John’s services.

25 October 2012

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 Hi John,

I just want to commend you for your expert consultancy work concerning the brick veneer on our new dwelling.Thanks to your comments and guidance, and of course your reputation and position of prominence within the industry, it would seem we have been able to achieve having the veneer removed and replaced by a different brick laying business.

 It is quite impressive, and speaks to your reputation as an expert in the field, that you picked up on as many of the issues as you did from viewing photos alone. I think this is telling, and gives you an indication of what the actual state of the veneer was like when viewed in person.

I had the brick layer, the builder, the project manager, the president of the Masonry Trades Association, the local Master Builders rep. and the Council (amazingly) all insisting that the work was acceptable, when in fact it was non-compliant in multiple areas and did not follow standard good trade practice in many other respects. Not only that, a couple of these people went further to say that this brick layer was the best brick layer in the region. I would love to know, when confronted with your recommendations, the legislation and the evidence, whether their opinion would remain consistent.

The last straw for me, after raising serious concerns with parties on at least three separate occasions, was observing that the rebates were packed full of hardened mortar when the washouts were closed in and before the job was finished, the degree of mortar protrusion within the cavities, many bricks being laid with only the front 15mm or so of the perpends being mortared, holes appearing in the bed joints that were then sloppily ‘patched’ over the surface only, visible waves appearing in the facades, and being able to score out areas of the bed joints with my bare fingers! The list of issues of course continue on and on.

It is concerning to think that we could have potentially run into serious and very expensive issues in years to come had the veneer been allowed to remain as it was.

I could only recommend that any person building a house keeps a very close eye on the progress, in all aspects of the build, mainly through taking a lot of photos.

When even the legislation, put in place to protect people, fails to convince the industry representatives, it is comforting to know that there is at least one non-biased person that is professional enough, and brave enough, to make the hard and just calls. This could only serve to benefit the industry through improvement and consistency of standards of workmanship.

Thanks again John,

Rhys Sanson

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We engaged the services of John Oliver in July 2012, to help us investigate the cause of a serious brick building defect in a three year old building.

We were given John’s name, along with one other person, by the Chair of the Brick and Blocklayers Federation. After looking into John’s background and noting his experience from his webpage, getting a prompt and intelligent reply to an inquiring email and making some calls to other people in the bricklaying industry, we were informed that if you want someone on your team, John Oliver was the person to have.

John came and did some intrusive inspection work on our building and within a few days we had a detailed report as to what the problem was and what the possible causes could be. John said he would stand by his findings in court if our problem ever went that far. It did make it to mediation as the building company concerned decided they were not going to accept responsibility or ownership for their work.

John was more than happy to attend mediation with us, and with his extensive knowledge of the issue at hand, verbally gave his findings on our case.

John’s experience and understanding of brick work and relevant specifications, was a major coup in resolving our problem with what we thought was a reputable building company.

John is a very professional person whose reputation precedes him, and we would have no hesitation in engaging his services again, or recommending him to others.

Fiona and James Whitworth
16th October 2012

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 We were experiencing problems with water entering through the bricks in the basement of our new dwelling and when researching to find out how we could resolve the problem, came to know John Oliver after reading the “Brick Book”

of which he is the author.

We used the services of John, and from our experience we consider him to be an expert in his field as a professional building consultant specialising in brick veneer.

He was excellent to deal with.  He kept appointments punctually, was fair in his quoting, communicated well and was friendly, honest and very knowledgeable.

 We would be happy to recommend John to any prospective clients.

 T & C. Boreham

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At the beginning of 2012 I wished to sell my 2 storey 1970’s brick and block base home, but was concerned about the water ingress which occasionally came into the downstairs area.   Over the years many had tried to solve this annoying problem to no avail

Having John Oliver come and inspect my home, and immediately diagnose the problem was a huge weight off my shoulders.  To at last have someone with the expertise to know what was wrong and more importantly know how to fix it was great.

John advised me to put it on the Market ‘As Is’ and provide prospective buyers with his report.   The report was very clear and set out not just the work needed, but costs and two options buyers could take.   He also offered his services to Project Manage the job thus showing confidence in his own expertise.

I did just that and the result was very gratifying.     Interested parties were given the report and had the problem explained to them.   I think people were very pleased that there was such transparency and it did not detract in any way from a really good result.   It sold at auction with no problem whatsoever with several bidders very keen.

John Oliver’s help allowed me to sell my house with integrity.   Knowing that the new owners had clear and transparent information about what was happening and that they could see how very easily it could be corrected.   I am very grateful to him and would wholeheartedly recommend his services.


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