FREE WEBINAR: Electric Vehicle Charging in Apartment Buildings

Six Sydney-based Councils – Waverley, Randwick, Woollahra, Willoughby, North Sydney, Mosman – are co-hosting a free webinar next month, on EV Charging in Apartment Buildings.

Hear from the experts about charging for electric vehicles (EV) in apartment buildings. Our guest speakers from Council, industry and electric vehicle peak bodies will help demystify the key information that people living in apartments will need to consider when owning an EV in the future.

When: 6.30-7.30pm, Thursday 19 September

Where: Online anywhere, from the comfort of your own home or office.

Who should attend?

  • Residents living in apartments who are considering owning an Electric Vehicle (EV) in the future,
  • Strata owners
  • Strata managers
  • Other interested folks

Register today – it’s easy online!

Feel free to pass on to your neighbours, friends and any other folks who may be interested.

 

 

Media Release: THREAT TO MOBILISE TWO MILLION NEW SOUTH WALES “STRATA ARMY” UNLESS GOVERNMENTS ACT

CONSTRUCTION, CLADDING, QUALITY CONTROL, INSURANCE, CERTIFIERS…………NOW A BILLION DOLLAR PROBLEM FOR NSW

SCA (NSW), the peak body representing the interests of an estimated two million New South Wales strata sector – managers, owners and stakeholders, says the New South Wales economy will take a major hit unless the State Government moves to restore confidence in the apartment, unit, townhouse and commercial strata property market in NSW.

Chris Duggan, State President of Strata Community Association (NSW), says the State Government needs to put a funding package on the table off the back of today’s meeting of Federal and State Building and Construction Ministers in Sydney.

“The NSW Government moved quickly to support the residents of Mascot Towers but we all know now that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“That iceberg is impacting on confidence.

“Some Mascot Towers residents have been offered $10,000 to purchase their million dollar apartments and no resident in NSW should have to suffer that sort of disgraceful proposition.

“In the flammable cladding area, we estimate that there are well over 10,000 apartments in NSW, Queensland and Victoria that may be affected.

“The Victorian Government has put $600million on the table to address this issue and the NSW Government – supported by the Commonwealth — needs to look at matching this figure.”

Mr Duggan said the NSW Government through the Premier had moved quickly on Mascot Towers, but it is now obvious that the building and construction integrity problem requires a whole of Government strategic response that is properly funded.

“This requires direct intervention by the Premier. She moved quickly on assistance for Mascot Towers and now two million strata stakeholders are turning to her for help.

“We are taking hundreds of calls a day from concerned strata residents who are demanding action.

“There is a two million strong strata army in NSW that wants us to take the lead and to restore confidence in the apartment, unit and townhouse sector.

“People like the owners of Mascot Towers have been caught up in this mess.  This mess centres around Federal, State Government and local authority approvals of building products, certification and processes.

“We still have hundreds of kilometres of poor quality electrical cabling that poses a fire risk in NSW and we can’t track it down. Government is still allowing poor quality Chinese made glass panels to come into this country that can explode under stress.

”Insurance premiums are on the rise and the private certifiers issue off the back of flammable cladding has brought the construction industry to its knees.”

Mr Duggan said it was incumbent on the Federal Government to work with NSW and other States because the problems in NSW were replicated Australia wide.

ENDS

Changes in legislation needed to fix the construction industry

Changes in legislation needed to fix the construction industry

written by Honan Insurance Group

Déjà vu? Once again, another Sydney apartment block has been evacuated due to observed structural cracking in the building’s underground car park. Mascot Towers, a 131-unit complex at No. 1 Bourke St Mascot was evacuated last Friday evening (14 June) with residents given short notice to vacate their apartments.  On Tuesday, there was still no advice on when residents would be able to return to their homes permanently. This follows on from the dramatic Christmas Eve (2018) evacuation of Sydney Olympic Park’s Opal Tower.

The cause of the cracking in Mascot Towers is yet to be determined, and alleged possible causes may include neighbouring construction work or the original design and construction 10-years ago. Mascot Towers was constructed over 10-years ago, meaning that any building defects will not be covered by building warranty insurance (referred to as Home Builders Compensation in NSW), leaving the unit owners to pay for the repairs. If the neighbouring construction project is to blame, then a lengthy legal battle may occur regarding various other insurance covers.

Currently, NSW law states that future owners of a property are covered for the statutory warranty period – six years for major defects in the work and two years for other losses from the date of completion of work. With many building defects appearing after the six-year statutory warranty period, there is a need for major changes to be made to NSW laws to protect property owners buying off a plan or buying buildings younger than 10-years old that were poorly built.

The strata industry and Strata Community Association (SCA) will continue to advocate for change and encourage the government to further regulated the relaxed approach to building completion sign off and hold the construction industry to account for faulty work.

In February of last year, the NSW Government[1] told the COAG meeting that it would introduce new legislation to improve consumer protection if they won the next election, these included:

–    Builders needing to sign off that building was constructed in accord with certified plans

–    Allowing Owners Corporations to litigate for negligence if building code was not carried out

This new legislation is still to be introduced, and many people in strata see this legislation as not being tough enough on the construction industry who are accountable for this issue. With research finding that 72-85% [2]of owner’s corporations identifying major defects in their buildings, it is important that strata managers and the SCA continue to do what they can to influence the federal and state governments into reforming legislation as soon as possible.

[1] https://aib.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/NSW-Government-Media-Release-2.pdf

[2] https://cityfutures.be.unsw.edu.au/research/projects/defects-strata/

New Regulatory Requirements for Cooling Water Systems

NSW Health has issued an update advising it has strengthened laws around managing cooling water systems. The new laws require a performance based approach to managing these systems.

A cooling water system can contain one or more cooling towers which are used as part of a buildings’ air conditioning system.

In its Fact Sheet, NSW Health says that:

Effective management of cooling water systems is essential for protecting public health.

Poorly managed cooling water systems can provide ideal conditions for the growth and transmission of Legionella bacteria.

People can become infected by inhaling fine airborne aerosols generated by cooling towers. Infection may cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

NSW Health recently changed the Public Health Regulation 2012 (the Regulation). Members should be aware also that cooling water systems must also comply with the Public Health Act 2010.

The Regulation now requires cooling water systems to be managed according to Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 3666 Part 3 (2011 edition).

NSW Health advises that this risk management approach requires the individual characteristics and unique risks of each cooling water system to be assessed and controlled.

The Regulation previously allowed a prescriptive or “one size fits all” approach. This required specific actions to be taken, regardless of the system design or risk of Legionella contamination, and was based on AS/NZS 3666 Part 2.

In the fact sheet, NSW Health says the new Regulation, which commenced 1 January 2018, requires:

  1. assessing risk of Legionella contamination and preparing a Risk Management Plan (RMP) – every 5 years (or more frequently if required)
  2. independent auditing of compliance with the RMP and Regulation – every year
  3. providing certificates of RMP completion and audit completion to the local government authority
  4. sampling and testing for Legionella and heterotrophic colony count – every month
  5. notifying reportable laboratory test results (Legionella count ≥1,000 cfu/mL or heterotrophic colony count ≥5,000,000 cfu/mL) to the local government authority
  6. displaying unique identification numbers on all cooling towers.

Members may also find the Guidelines on Legionella Control useful.

Winners announced for 2018 CHU Strata Community Awards

Winners announced for 2018 CHU Strata Community Awards

Strata Community Association (NSW) has announced the winners of the annual CHU Strata Community Awards with the judges blown away by the number of entries and competition across all awards categories.

 

The 2018 SCA (NSW) CHU Strata Community Awards Winners are:

Strata Community Manager

Lani Zaubzer, Strata Plus

Strata Community Manager – Rising Star

Sarah Hogg, BCS Strata Management

Support Team Member

Simone Firns, Network Pacific Strata Management

Strata Community Management Business – Small

The Strata Collective

Strata Community Management Business – Large

Bright & Duggan

Strata Services Business

Havencab Group

Essay Award

Natalie Fitzgerald, Strata Sense

Excellence in Innovation

PICA Group

Strata Community Environmental & Engagement Award

Strata Plan 78602, Generation W, McElhone Street, Woolloomooloo

 

SCA (NSW) President Mr Chris Duggan said that this year’s entrants showed that the NSW strata sector has been on an upward trajectory since the new legislation was introduced in 2016 and through the immense competition within the industry itself.

“The strata sector has seen an increase in not just properties with the apartment boom around NSW but also in the new and talented people entering into the industry and developing as professionals,” Mr Duggan said.

“One of the things we are most proud of is the recognition of the outstanding performance of women at the awards. Four women scooped the pool of individual awards on the night. We have also grown the opportunity for strata owners to celebrate their successes with the Strata Community Environmental & Engagement Award.

“This year’s winner, an apartment building in Woolloomooloo showed innovation and determination when it came to reducing their energy consumption, making changes and reaping the rewards that mean dollars in owners pockets and not the coffers of the big energy providers.”

“The independent judging panel made up of academics and industry stakeholders commented that there was a significant number of excellent, high quality submissions and that they get better each year. Scoring in some categories was extremely difficult with scores very close.

“They also said it was great to see the quality and breadth in the industry with high achieving young strata managers,” Mr Duggan concluded.

Licensing changes for strata managers – Update on timeline

The reforms to the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 will affect licensing and qualifications, the roles that can be undertaken at different levels of qualification and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

It was anticipated that the new CPD regime would start from 1 July 2018 however this date has been deferred as the regulations are required before a timeline can be proposed.
The regulations are currently being drafted in consultation with the Real Estate Reference Group, of which SCA (NSW) is a member.The timeline for implementation will be guided by these regulations and discussions.

The final changes will be written into the regulations and we will keep you updated and guide you through this transition as further changes become confirmed and definite.

Buildings with combustible cladding

SCA (NSW) met with representatives from the Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce early last week for an update on the inter-agency approach being taken to identify buildings with fire safety risks posed by external wall cladding. They advised that they are perfecting their data from all feedback received, such as from responses to letters sent to building owners, DA’s submitted, inspections performed by Fire and Safety NSW and from local councils taking action. They are mainly working on providing awareness for building owners and are working on risk mitigation such as sprinklers to reduce the number of buildings requiring actual rectification.

Building owners whose legal responsibility it is to ensure fire safety can expect to receive more correspondence from Government authorities collecting information. A key message from our meeting with the Cladding Taskforce is ‘If your building has cladding, don’t wait for a letter, get a fire inspection done now’.

The NSW Government is also introducing numerous legislative reforms as part of its wide-ranging fire safety package. These will impact schemes under management by our membership and it is important to understand the obligations imposed by this new legislative reform.

The introduction from 18 December 2017 of new laws contained in the Building Products (Safety) Act 2017 will empower the government to prohibit the use of a specified building product in a building, such as external cladding, by identifying, restricting and rectifying building products which pose a safety risk in buildings, including a safety risk that arises in the event of fire. It also includes significant powers on government authorities to inspect, test and require removal of unsafe building products.

Under the draft Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2017  owners of buildings with combustible cladding will be required to identify whether cladding is present on schemes,  undertake an independent fire safety assessment and make a declaration to Government which will be included on a public register. This amendment is currently on public exhibition until 16 February 2018.  Upon enactment the Regulation requires schemes to make the above declaration within three months.

SCA (NSW) has advocated that at a minimum external wall cladding be classified as a major defect under the Home Building Act and we have had a partial win in respect to Building Products (Safety) Act 2017 via an amendment to the Home Building Act 1989. This amendment now includes unsafe products as an item potentially attracting a six year statutory warranty. While unfortunately, this is not retrospective SCA (NSW) is committed to continue lobbying for existing schemes to be afforded the extended six year statutory warranty protection for these products in the interest of consumer protection.

We encourage you to review the draft regulation and submit your feedback to planning.nsw.gov.au/proposals by Friday 16 February 2018.

For more information