Insights from the 2023 Strata Defects Survey

A new report by has revealed that over half (53%) of strata buildings experienced serious defects between 2016-2022, prompting owners corporations to allocate an estimated $79 million for rectification efforts. 

  • New buildings have experienced a decline in defects since 2020.

  • In NSW, 53% of buildings grapple with serious defects, up considerably from the 39% recorded in 2021.  

  • The most prevalent defects are waterproofing, fire safety, structural integrity, and key service issues. 

  • Rectifying serious defects carries an average cost of $283,000 per building. 

  • A notable 34% of consumers now express more confidence in reporting defects to the regulator. 


Collaboratively undertaken by SCA NSW and the Office of the Building Commissioner, the 2023 survey, involving input from over 600 strata managers, indicates a rise in serious defects compared to 2021. However, for schemes registered since 2020, there is a positive trend, with serious defects decreasing from 34% to 27%.

Read the Full Report Here

Key findings from the survey highlight prevalent issues in waterproofing (42%), fire safety systems (24%), building enclosures (19%), structural issues (15%), key services like plumbing and elevators (14%), and non-compliant cladding (8%).  

The findings also indicated a decline in incidents associated with waterproofing, structural defects, and non-compliant cladding, while there was an upward trend in issues related to fire safety, building enclosures, and key services. 

The surge in ‘key services’ defects, covering lifts, garage doors, car stackers, air conditioning, security systems, and smart building technologies, is attributed to the inclusion of newer technologies in the survey. 

Stephen Brell, President of SCA NSW, said: “Tacking building defects continues to be a formidable task and one that is time-consuming, financially burdensome and emotionally draining for all involved. 



“We are grateful that these survey results show that consumers feel empowered to report defects with the regulator receiving double the amount of serious defects reported (34%) than in 2021 (15%) showing increased confidence in regulation. 

While, regrettably, we have seen an increase in serious defects since 2021, surveys such as this are central to our ability to advocate for the greater strata community and create government reform that ensures we are working towards more positive outcomes in the future.” 

The survey aimed to attain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of serious building defects in the NSW strata community. At present, there are more than 85,000 strata schemes across NSW, with expectations of a substantial increase by 2040. 

Despite the increase in serious defects, the survey revealed optimistic developments in survey participation, showcasing a 30% increase from 492 schemes in 2021 to 642 schemes in 2023. Moreover, almost half (48%) of strata managers agreed that the recent reforms have increased consumer confidence, while 34% of consumers now exhibit heightened confidence in reporting defects to the regulator.  

Acknowledging the challenges posed by these latest survey findings, Stephen Brell said: “We are committed to advocating for consumers and will continue to work hand in glove with David Chandler and the Office of the Building Commissioner to help rectify and prevent building defects, to ensure that every resident and homeowner has a safe place to live.” 

Additional key findings from the report 

  • 94% of buildings had a current annual fire safety statement issued in the past 12 months. 

  • For almost half (48%) of buildings with completed resolution work, serious defects were rectified within a year. 

  • The most common barriers to addressing serious defects included delays from builders or developers (42%), followed by lack of engagement from builders or developers (31%), and upfront costs (28%). 

  • The average cost of rectifying serious defects was $283,000 per building, with 57% of these costs allocated to repairs, 20% to professional costs, and 15% to legal costs. 


Read the Full Report Here