Building defects in New South Wales update

With a number of buildings reporting defects making it into the media recently, SCA (NSW) wanted to provide strata owner members with an update on what the NSW government is putting in place to address this serious issue.

Mascot Towers assistant package
The NSW Government has provided an assistance package for residence of Mascot Towers. The package includes payment of accommodation costs for up to 3 months while apartments are unsafe for occupation.

The level of assistance per apartment is based on the number of bedrooms and is only available for the period that the apartment is unsafe to occupy.

NSW Fair Trading website has more information which can be accessed here.

Building regulation reform
According to the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, the Hon Kevin Anderson MP, the government has taken steps to look at proposed legislation that will reform the building industry.

This is all contained in a discussion paper titled Building Stronger Foundations, which is being co-ordinated by NSW Fair Trading. Proposed key reforms include:

  1. Requiring building practitioners who are registered as ‘building designers’ to declare plans and performance solutions that are compliant with the Building Code of Australia, and that builders declare that they are built according to these declared plans.
  2. Introducing a new registration scheme for ‘building designers’.
  3. Ensuring an industry-wide duty of care is owed to subsequent homeowners.
  4. Appointing a Building Commissioner to act as the consolidated regulator for building in NSW.

NSW Fair Trading says the comments received during this round of consultation will be used to shape the design and scope of the reforms. Stakeholder feedback will also be used to work through the technical and practical issues raised by these reforms.

The community and residential apartment industry have until 24 July 2019 to provide feedback on proposed reforms.

New NSW Building Services Commissioner to be appointed
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that the NSW Government would be appointing a Building Services Commissioner.

The role of the building services commissioner will be to help resolve what is described by the newspaper as a residential apartment crisis.

The Government will also establish a building compliance regime. The NSW Premier has indicated that this would be set up by the end of July.

What this means for owners with properties containing defects we are yet to understand. However, SCA (NSW) will continue to keep you updated and bring the news as it happens.