Four in ten new buildings have major flaws: NSW Building Commissioner


Nearly four in ten new apartment buildings in NSW have serious flaws, costing an average of $ 331,829 per building to repair, a new survey has found, although resolutions are rare.

Waterproofing (23%) was the most common major fault, followed by fire safety (14%), while almost one in 10 buildings had structural and enclosure defects, which can include anything protects homeowners from the elements, like the roof or facade, according to a new study from the Strata Community Association NSW.

A survey of 1,400 managers of strata of residential buildings of four or more storeys constructed in the past six years was carried out as part of a joint initiative between the Office of the Building Commissioner of New South Wales and the state peak body of strata.

Research found that resolving flaws was a long, drawn-out process that took up to 12 months or more to reach a conclusion for 38% of company owners.

The most common obstacles to resolving defects were fundraising (15%), lack of knowledge of rights and responsibilities (14%), and disagreement within the owner company on which approach to take (10% ).

The most common way for strata plans to reach resolution was by agreement with the developer or builder (27 percent).

But the investigation found that only seven buildings reported being able to recover the costs of the flaw rectification processes.

With four in 10 buildings showing major flaws, NSW Building Commission David Chandler said, “That’s no reason to be proud.”

He said the purpose of the investigation was to understand how widespread the problem was in the state and how to move forward.

“When you have evidence like this, it’s possible to go to an organization that denies it and say it’s so serious,” Mr Chandler said.

“It is this proof that I am capable of [take] to the Urban Taskforce or UDIA and say, ‘Well, you can’t say that’s not a big deal.’

“The developers thought it was such an attack on them that I was named – and it is, let’s not shoot here,” he said, adding that the major flaws weren’t not isolated cases only in the large-scale Opal and Mascot towers.

“One would expect that [survey result] is the same situation in all other states. I can assure you that all other Australian states will consider this [and saying], “There isn’t much of a difference here. ‘”

Only 15 percent of buildings with serious defects were reported to Fair Trading, while disputes through the NSW Civil and Administrative The tribunal or Supreme Court was even less efficient, with only 5 percent of cases reaching a conclusion.

Mr Chandler admitted that many stratum companies were not convinced that fair trade corrects flaws in the past.

“You have to regain the trust of these strata. The main reason 15 percent isn’t good enough is that there’s 85 percent we don’t know, ”he said.

“Over the past year, Fair Trading has hired new technical staff and introduced new processes in its compliance and complaints divisions so that building complaints can be dealt with more efficiently than ever. “

The Owners Corporation Network, which represents apartment owners, welcomed the survey results.

“As the supreme body of residential strata owners, the Owners Corporation Network strongly supports research into the incidence and impacts of severe defects,” said CEO Karen Stiles. “The more we know, the better we can tackle systemic failures [that] cause so much suffering to the owners and residents affected.

Strata Community Association NSW president Chris Duggan said flaws were the most worrying issue facing strata owners.

“It is a reflection of the systemic failures of the past,” said Mr. Duggan. “It’s stressful, expensive and time consuming, and [only] in very rare cases, customers got their money back.

“It also gives us a bunch of main indicators of what needs to be done in the future,” he said, adding that luckily many of these changes were already underway.

The survey also highlighted the immediate need for reform with regard to the documentation of strata before and after the construction of an apartment complex, Mr. Duggan said, so that owners can deal with maintenance and faults. in the years to come.

The survey will be completed annually for the next six to ten years to measure improvement in the strata sector and build public confidence in apartment buildings.

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