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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.
Apartments house one in ten Australians, including a higher share of low-income households than other housing types. A new study identifies why some high-density neighbourhoods work better than others.
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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.
Access to natural, green space makes a huge difference to the lives of children living in high-rise apartments.
Nearly half of apartment residents are now families with children whose quality of life suffers if their neighbourhoods don't provide the spaces and activities they need to thrive.
Compliance with the National Construction Code provides no guarantee that an apartment won’t leak.
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.
Defective apartment buildings aren’t just affecting the evacuated residents – the whole sector is suffering from a crisis of confidence.
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.
The crisis of confidence in the safety and soundness of new apartment buildings won’t end without a decisive response from federal, state and territory governments.
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?
Residents carry their belongings out of Mascot Towers, Sydney, on June 23, after being evacuated because of cracks in the building.
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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.
Can Australians be confident that the new National Construction Code will ensure new buildings avoid structural defects like those that led to the evacuation of the Opal Tower (left) in Sydney?
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!
The 392 apartments in Opal Tower (centre) were evacuated on Christmas Eve when residents heard loud cracks and defects were found.
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.
Matt From London/Flickr.
For a nation in the grips of a housing crisis, you'd expect high-rise developments to be good news – unfortunately not.
A parking attendant strolls through a rooftop car park in Melbourne.
There are thousands of empty parking spots in cities. So what can we do to make better use of this space?
Areas with higher-density apartment living, such as Rhodes in Sydney, are home to many overseas-born residents.
The combination of higher-density living and increasing cultural diversity means we need to think about how to build social cohesion and make the most of the opportunities of apartment living.
Tobacco smoke is notoriously difficult to contain in higher-density housing.
Apartment residents need sensible smoking regulations that balance personal freedoms in the home and public health interests, but the law is letting them down.
Children being children can be loud, which creates challenges when they live in an apartment.
In Sydney, families with children now account for one in four households living in apartments. The expectations and design of apartments have not kept up with this rapid demographic change.