Since the Grenfell Tower fire claimed 72 lives in 2017, Australia has identified flammable cladding on more than 3,400 buildings. Despite apartment owners’ fears and rising costs, few have been fixed.
Identifying and fixing apartment defects can be challenging, especially as they’re often the shared responsibility of all owners in the building. A new guide aims to help navigate the pitfalls.
Orders to fix serious defects, even up to ten years after completion, and to delay the occupation certificate developers need to sell apartments until they’re fixed, gives regulators real teeth.
The proposed law does little to give people confidence in the apartments they buy. And it utterly neglects the role of architects and on-site inspections in delivering sound buildings.
People die protecting homes. They are wrong to believe their homes will protect them.
Buyers pay more for a home they know has a good energy rating. That’s worth an extra 2.4-9.4% in the only part of Australia where energy ratings must be disclosed at the time of sale.
The problems of demolishing high-rise buildings in busy cities point to the need to prepare for unbuilding at the time of building. We’d then be much better placed to recycle building materials.
Governments and regulators assume compliance with building regulations will restore public confidence. But complying with the National Construction Code won’t fix many common defects.
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.