The difficulty of finding out about building defects creates an information deficit that threatens public confidence and stability in the apartment market. NSW has begun work on a solution.
Unsafe apartments are being evacuated as confidence plummets – even the author of a report commissioned by building ministers wouldn't buy a new apartment. What will it take for governments to act?
The delay in adopting a national approach to building industry reform, based on a report received more than a year ago, typifies official neglect of the impacts of uncertainty on the affected people.
The construction industry crisis didn't happen overnight. Authorities have been on notice for years to fix the problems that now have the industry itself calling for better regulation.
Australia requires a minimum six-star energy rating for new housing. New homes average just 6.2 stars, so builders are doing the bare minimum to comply, even as the costs of this approach are rising.
Regulations that are meant to protect residents from building failures and fires have been found wanting. All governments must take responsibility for fixing the defective regime they created.
We now have a proven model for supporting self-determined building on Aboriginal homelands. The next question is how can its reach be extended?
Estimated costs for Victoria alone range from hundreds of millions to as much as $1.6 billion If work to rectify buildings fitted with combustible cladding isn't well handled.
Fires and building failures highlighted serious gaps in Australian building regulations. But recent revisions and recommendations still fall short of preparing our buildings for climate change.
Years of regulatory failure are having direct impacts on the hip pockets of the many Australians who bought defective houses or apartments. It's turning into a multibillion-dollar disaster.
Under the new code, buildings are hardly likely to differ measurably from their fault-ridden older siblings and can still fall short of a six-star rating. It's possible they may have no stars!
Architects, certifiers and engineers who work as consultants to builders are on notice about potential liability for the use of flammable cladding, but governments are also culpable for their actions.
The risks of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings have long been known. And audits have identified hundreds of Australian buildings with this cladding. Delay in replacing it is inexcusable.
As more and more Australians live and work in high-rise buildings, their responsibilities and roles in ensuring all occupants' safety must not be neglected.
Fortunately, no lives were lost in the latest cladding fire in Melbourne, but it's a stark reminder of the urgent need to track and verify that building materials comply with safety standards.
While Opal Tower residents are more badly affected than most, up to 80% of multi-unit buildings have serious defects. Here's what government can do right now to fix the industry.
Air conditioning changed both building design and people's active management of home temperatures. A return to houses designed for our climate can keep us comfortable and cut energy use and emissions.
Building defects in apartment blocks are far from unusual. We need to identify the systemic flaws contributing to them.
Australia's commitments to cut emissions are on a collision course with urban growth. We need a much more comprehensive strategy to make the transition to a sustainable built environment.
It's tempting to blame building certifiers and the fact they are privately employed. But the cracks in the quality of our apartment buildings go deeper and can be fixed.