NSW Government’s stance on the Opal Tower incident – the story so far
The Opal Tower incident has revealed several cracks in the system from insufficient government regulations to compliance issues within the building and construction industry. The various cogs in the wheel within the building and construction industry are staying tuned to the story.
In the heels of the Opal Tower incident in Sydney, there is an increasing public demand for legislation changes around building compliance and safety, especially to regulate strata managed properties.
Here are some answers on how NSW’s government is addressing the issue and what strata property owners should do:
How the New South Wales government is addressing the issue
Based on the building confidence report by Professors Peter Shergold AC and Bronwyn Weir, the NSW government has announced its plan to support majority recommendations made in the report and take the following steps:
- Appoint a ‘Building Commissioner’ who will be responsible for auditing people who work in the industry, and for enforcing the licensing scheme
- Revisit the legislation to strengthen building regulations and address gaps in compliance
- Overhaul the compliance reporting and enforce compliance as per the Building Code of Australia is the top priority
- Scrutinise the compliance status of the builders, developers, inspectors and certifiers involved in the high-rise strata buildings across the state
- Enforce a new disciplinary policy that will hold corrupt certifiers accountable for building compliance failures and ban those who breach the industry code of conduct from working on new buildings for a year
- Implement a registration scheme for building practitioners with reporting obligations
- Ensure at least 30 per cent of certification work is audited in the state every year
- Ensure that there is an industry-wide duty of care to homeowners
What strata property owners should do
Your property is your asset and responsibility. So, while the system is still in flux, here are a few things you should prioritise, so you can protect your property, pocket and peace of mind:
- Stay updated on state laws regarding building compliance and keep an eye on dates and deadlines
- Keep a copy of your property’s compliance and certification status
- Watch out for building defects and inform your owners corporation
- Understand what type of defects they may be, what are the possible risks, who is responsible for fixing them, who should pay for the costs from repairs and who to go to in times of crisis
- Know your rights as an owner and be aware of any warranty covers for your property
- If your complaints and concerns go unheard from developers and builders with regard to the warranty cover, reach out to Fair Trading to get clarity and settle disputes
- Have adequate insurance cover to protect your strata property – know what insurances have already been taken by your owners corporation and consult with insurance experts to know what other kinds of insurance you may need to take as a lot owner
- Reach out to your strata committee if you have questions and understand how you can take their help
If you’re a property owner in Queensland or Victoria, click here to learn about what you should know to stay on the front foot with respect to building defects.
If you’d like to find out more on building compliance for your strata property, download your free Community Living guide. Or for a consultation to review your common property insurance by our CommunitySure insurance team, click here.