A suite of proposed changes to energy efficiency section of the National Construction Code are a good step forward. However, a lot more can be done.
If building regulations required cheap fixes such as ensuring chimneys and parapets were structurally attached to the building, we could save lives during earthquakes.
New regulations, training systems and research are underway but there’s much still to be done.
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.
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.
Earth-covered houses are not only highly fire-resistant, but sustainable features such as off-grid power and water supplies could also be life-saving in a bushfire.
People die protecting homes. They are wrong to believe their homes will protect them.
If the aim is to minimise the number of buildings damaged or destroyed in extreme fire events, Australia’s building regulations are clearly inadequate. But that’s not their aim.
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.
The public inquiry into Grenfell makes its first report – but those responsible for the circumstances leading up to the fire are yet to face the consequences.
The failure of regulators to take decisive action against errant companies is an unintended consequence of the design of ‘responsive regulation’.
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.
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.
Grenfell Tower fire is the kind of tragedy that changes the built environment forever, through new building rules and safety measures.
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.