We would like to summarise our last financial year as we enter a new financial period.
With a semblance of familiarity creeping back into our lives as Public Health Orders have continued to ease restrictions imposed due to COVID-19; we’re proud of the hurdles SCA (NSW), and its members have overcome as a community, and the continued work that allows us to deliver expert services and support and advocate for the Strata industry as a whole. However, with cases of COVID-19 in Victoria spiking and the borders closing to mitigate the spread, we need to remain vigilant as a community and ensure we do not become complacent.
We will continue to uphold strict hygiene measures in our ongoing fight against COVID-19, despite lockdown measure in NSW easing.
Many of us are back working in the office, our kids back at school and our family and friends able to socialise at an increased level.
Strata Community Association (NSW) has had an eventful financial year!
We’ve taken great strides in projects that we launched earlier this year, specifically working towards a Professional Standards Scheme, funding research into the impacts of defects across the state and advocating for amendments to Strata regulation to help our members deal with the impact of coronavirus.
The last 12 months have presented enormous challenges to the strata industry, and there will be many new challenges ahead.
We’re ready to tackle them together.
The 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a global crisis, affecting the lives of many.
We’ve developed a fluid and central guide to help keep you and your family informed during this time of crisis, especially within a strata community. We’re continually updating information as it becomes available to us, so stay tuned and stay safe.
Our guideline was developed to assist building managers, committees and residents by delivering pertinent information in a centralised source document”.
We wanted information about as many relevant facets of strata living to be included to help keep our strata communities updated on policies and procedures during this trying time.
We have organised our education delivery service to be moved entirely online, including the establishment of our dedicated COVID-19 portal on the website to deliver the most up to date information in a timely manner.
We have also scheduled and run up to three webinars weekly for members and the community during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns – inviting key members of the community, expert stakeholders and guests to share their knowledge and expertise with our members. The webinar recordings can be accessed via our dedicated OVID-19 page.
Our goal was to be agile when lockdowns were enforced, and our business continuity plan ensures that we’re able to continue our service delivery in the best way able for our members.
We continue to collaborate with State and Federal Government and local authorities to implement innovative industry relevant strategies, we have advocated changes in regulation, presented plans, launched research initiatives, and weathered the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are committed to working with the NSW Government and Building Commissioner to ensure that strata remains a key policy priority for the increasingly significant proportion of the State’s residents who reside and work in strata.
Monumental strides were made in this space over the last 12 months!
SCA (NSW), were very vocal in recommending legislative amendments which not only supported the industry but streamlined administrative functions for many strata residents and corporations to ensure that legislation was met, and health and safety continued to be paramount throughout lockdown restrictions!
New South Wales (in particular), is transitioning towards a brighter future and SCA (NSW), and our industry is at the forefront of restoring consumer confidence. Our rapport with the Building Commissioner and State Government continues to strengthen.
Throughout 2019/2020 Strata Community Association (NSW) has maintained an active advocacy program and profile in national and state media, representing the interests of our members and the millions of people who live in and own a Strata titled property.
We’ve made several important submissions to relevant authorities vocalising several issues and recommending changes to better suit the industry, including:
- Submission to the Short-Term Rental Accommodation Regulatory Framework
- Submission to the proposed Amendments to the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation
- Submission to the proposed Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019
- Submission to the Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2019
- Submission to the Community Schemes Law Reform
- Submission to the Miscellaneous Amendments Explanation for COVID-19
- Submission to the Certification of Annual Fire Safety Statements
- Submission to the Emergency COVID-19 Measures in Strata and Community Laws
Our professionalism, expertise, advocacy, and recommendations will continue to serve our members into the future.
We believe our persistence has paid off and that millions of strata dwellers are set to benefit.
It’s been a particularly difficult start to 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions changing the way we operate and throwing our members, the community and the nation into economic unrest.
Nonetheless, SCA (NSW) worked tirelessly to deliver support to the industry, and ensure legislation was updated to benefit those who live in, own, or work in Strata titled property.
SCA (NSW) has had a highly active 2019/2020:
- New South Wales Building Commissioner being appointed in August 2019
- Participating in the Community schemes law reform in December 2019
- Changes to NSW fire safety statements forms in January 2020
- Lockdown Restrictions and developing innovative service solutions in Feb 2020
- NSW Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 coming into effect March 2020
- Real Estate and Property Industry Reforms being announced in March 2020
- Changes to Short Term Rental Accommodation in NSW April 2020
- Amendments to Witnessing Legal Documents regulation in April 2020
- NSW releasing final report on the cladding and building crisis in April 2020
- Fire Safety Reforms coming into effect April 2020
- COVID-19 Tenancy Changes May 2020
- NSW passing Community Land Management Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 and Strata Schemes Management Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 to provide relief to strata owners and committees in June 2020
- New regulations to prevent building defects and boost confidence in NSW June 2020
SCA (NSW), plays a huge role in advocating for consumers and ensuring the Government is addressing the issues our industry is facing.
We’re happy to report our advocacy over the last financial year has had a direct impact on the safety, wellbeing and overall benefit to our members and the industry.
We have been very active in the media.
Publishing a media release on average once per week over the last financial year, and our stories being picked up and published at least once a week for the same period.
This is a positive result; an initiative we are proud to continue as part of our wider government relations strategy.
Professional Standards Scheme:
Earlier this year SCA (NSW), initiated the process of forming our own Professional Standards Scheme regulated by the Professional Standards Australia; a lengthy, beneficial, and most importantly, revolutionary step forward for our industry. A decision which synergises with Government expectations and innovation necessary within our sector.
Their plans for industry-wide reform will not be driven by government alone. Associations (like us), are working towards lifting professional standards to aide in the Government’s efforts to resort sector confidence and we are embracing their expectations in uplifting regulations across the sector.
Our hope is that by attaining a Professional Standards Scheme, we professionalise the Strata Management industry to the highest level. This is in line with the New South Wale’s Government plan to rebuild the construction sector, restore confidence and enshrine competence, professionalism, and a form of self-regulation within the industry.
The building defects crisis has spotlighted the potential vulnerability of consumers buying off the plan.
New buyers have limited information about potential risks associated with owning the strata property or how construction and the strata sector operates.
Following the high-profile failures of the Opal and Mascot towers there has been substantial loss of confidence in new apartments. While the strata communities have grown, there has been no equal investments to support these strata communities.
As part of identifying high level requirements, SCA (NSW), has been part of the roundtable discussions for the Minimum viable product that can assist to improve the transparency, accountability, and quality of work within the building sector.
The objective of the wider program, the NSW Strata Portal, is to enable end to end oversight into the quality and safety of individual buildings from planning and construction to ownership.
SCA (NSW), recognises that without this central digital workflow and repository, the government’s ability to implement and enforce the new building reforms would be severely restricted.
The NSW building regulator will have sweeping new powers to withhold occupation certificates for apartment and other buildings that are not up to standard, denying developers the ability to settle their projects, under new laws passing Parliament.
The ability of the regulator to prevent settlement (the point of profit for developers), is unprecedented and beckons a major change in Australia’s commercial development industry.
These reforms push NSW ahead of other states in the race to beef up regulation of an industry notorious for poor oversight and past systemic failings.
SCA (NSW) are pleased that these Bills have been collaboratively developed through extensive consultation with industry stakeholders such as us, and the public to ensure that the reforms were comprehensive and addressed core issues.
We now have a leading system of design and building regulation that will deliver well-constructed buildings into the future.
SCA (NSW) have helped to fund critical research investigating and addressing the prevalence and occurrence of defects which is an issue affecting many schemes across New South Wales.
Despite these problems, there is no comprehensive data available on defective apartment buildings in NSW: we don’t know how many buildings are affected, what kinds of defects exist, or why they’ve occurred.
As such, SCA (NSW), has assisted in funding and donated staff resources towards a comprehensive research investigation to understand the extent of defects across the state.
Driving the research is the City Futures Research Centre (through UNSW); to identify and quantify defects in strata across NSW, examine causation of quality issues and propose innovative solutions.
Along with SCA (NSW), the City Futures Research Centre have a team of industry partners supporting this new research project to address the defect problem.
Our support and participation have directly led to progressive and unprecedented guides which are now available for all those who live in strata titled property.
The research has progressed to guides being developed for residents and owners delivering a step by step portal to identifying, documenting, reporting and rectifying defects in strata schemes.
The ‘Defects Rectification Guide’ is developed as a first point of call if owners are worried about defects in apartment buildings.
We are pleased to be associated with this research, as the findings will have important implications for the future of the strata industry.
SCA (NSW), continues to work closely with our regulator NSW Fair Trading.
As one of the industry associations involved in the RERG (The Real Estate Reference Group), our purpose is the consultation on the reforms and other issues affecting the property Industry.
The SCA (NSW) Board has worked closely to ensure the changes, including pathway and wording, under the reforms were in line with the duties carried out by our strata managers and LIC’s alike.
In addition, SCA (NSW), made up the key representatives for the CPD subcommittee to ensure guidelines for Continuing Professional Development were in line with the Qualifications needed.
The goal to raise standards of education and conduct in the Industry, provide consumers with sufficient protection, and encourage ethical, competent, and professional conduct.
SCA (NSW), is pleased to be part of a collaboration of nationally focused Industry stakeholders to assist the building commissioner David Chandler. Our work is to consult on the establishment of a ratings tool (ICIRT), to restore public trust and consumer confidence in construction.
Our role in the built environment industry is representing our strata managers, lot owners and stakeholders living in, residing, or working in strata titled property. We are part of the iCIRT Industry Group as part of ongoing advocacy work in the property sector.
SCA (NSW) has and continues to share insights into the performance of builders and developers, sharing experiences of our membership on quality of work or issues around defects, remedial works, or new developments.
We see value in an improved operating environment with more independent verification and rating.
The tool will be launched in Mid-2021.
Moving forward in 2020:
We want to assist you in bringing about the next chapter in Strata and will ensure our industry is more convenient for all involved. We believe communication and collaboration is more important than ever, and we gladly nominate ourselves to act as the centralised voice and peak authority for any and all strata related matters.
Keep your eyes peeled… Over the next few months, we have some new initiatives and exciting announcements to share, kicking off what we believe to be an eventful 20/21 financial year.
Stay healthy, stay connected and stay safe.