IS THERE A “HANDBOOK” … a ready reckoner to alert Buyers off the Plan, First Home Buyers, Downsizers … for everyone as MP Alex Greenwich related in his article “Water damage, dangerous mould: Why we need a Building Defects Inquiry” because increasingly the Australian home is an apartment … with nearly 50 per cent of Australia’s apartments in Sydney! Yet we have a shameful history of developer influence over politicians with a legacy of laws that favour them over owners and occupiers.
Owners are left to fix the defects … the Opal Tower fiasco is an overdue catalyst to strengthen our laws!
Defects include water coming into homes from ceilings and walls, and many are unsafe to live in from mould!
CAAN Photo: The Harbour Mill; it would seem a design could have been selected that was more sympathetic to the brick facade of the original Flour Mill?
Many apartment Owners are unable to agree that we have “very high building standards in Australia” or that they are in fact, being met! Being adhered to!
There is a growing number of apartment Owners speaking up about being victims of building defects, soon after the Developer hand-over.
The Opal building disaster is raising Community awareness about the degree and the range of problems being faced by Strata Owners.
New buildings show evidence of structural defects and Strata Owners are being forced to engage legal assistance.
The fear of any potential loss of re-sale value, is the Developer’s “cloak of anonymity and power” over Strata Owners who have bought buildings that hold defects.
At best, the Developer may agree to remediate any defects identified. Whilst eventually, they may be addressed, there may still be disagreement about the quality of the repair.
If a building defect cannot be negotiated, it may become a legal battle with the burden of initial payments; the Owners Corporation will “pay” for it.
The common building defect experiences of Strata Owners suggest that it is as if Developers are reenacting a “script” that includes the rhetoric of arguments and repeated stalling over accountability and standards of remediation.
RELATED HERE is THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF THOSE WHO BOUGHT INTO Pyrmont’s Harbour Mill developed by Ceerose. The Harbour Mill is literally a tragedy!
Water ingress has been an issue for Ceerose:
The Harbour Mill has had the Common Property foyer flood and cause direct damage to at least three ground floor apartments.
There are cracks in the basement car park levels that seep water from one level to the one below. Water has poured through electrical fittings.
Ceerose has responded by filling-in basement cracks.
Ceerose has also installed metal trays to “catch” the leaks that are solidifying into “cave-like, stalagmites” of minerals.
Water entering from parts of the building’s perimeter, has been remedied with lines of builder’s silicon.
And ironically, given the problems around water at Harbour Mill, the Owners Corporation was issued with a Fire Order within the first 12 months after handover.
This building was signed-off by a Private Certifier engaged by Ceerose.
The Legislation relating to such building issues, distinguishes between Major and Minor Defects.
Not all Strata Owner unit Minor Defects have been resolved by Ceerose, despite the repeated documentation of issues, direct calls, meetings and emails.
There are issues regarding the installation of the fittings and chosen appliances, not meeting expectations and/or standard performance.
The Common Property windows, are one example. Ceerose promoted a quality of apartment amenity.
“Special acoustic attention has been given to those apartments closest to the freeway, with double-layered glass between dual windows, and sliding louvre screens to ensure whisper-quiet interiors.”
However, the windows allow the migration of air, heat and noise.
Frustratingly, it is known that a number of Strata Owner unit defects have been resolved while, other Strata Owner unit defects have not been addressed by Ceerose.