BUILDING COMMISSIONER DAVID CHANDLER warned that homebuyers should take it upon themselves to inspect apartments before they settle and adopt a “buyer beware” mindset.
IT is evident that Mr Chandler’s comments come as a consequence of the malaise of this industry, the evidence amassed over many years of defective construction and defective building materials used in housing/high-rise projects …
With the industry having been deregulated, with the loss of Standards, the importation of defective building materials and Visa Workers, home buyers have been rendered no guarantees apart from self inspection and investigation … what has it come to in NSW INC?
Opal Tower owners corporation back NSW Building Commissioner comments
The owner’s corporation chair of Opal Tower has backed contentious comments from the Building Commissioner, saying in a perfect world consumers should not have to inspect buildings but until the industry changes it’s every man for himself.
Danielle Le Messurier, Anna Caldwell, Exclusive, The Daily Telegraph
October 29, 2019
|AAP4:17New powers to tackle shoddy building work|
October 23, 2019. NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson speaking to media at state parliament about new legi…
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The owner’s corporation chair of Opal Tower has backed controversial comments by the state’s Building Commissioner, saying in a perfect world consumers should not have to inspect buildings but until the industry changes “it’s buyer beware”.
Shady Eskander said while the state government should be protecting homebuyers who have “no way” of peering behind the walls of brand new high-rise towers, consumers must do what they can to protect themselves until legislation is overhauled.
“Definitely I agree it’s not our job to know (about defects) but until the industry gets their act together and fixes the market, of course I’m going to beware,” Mr Eskander said.
“If you’ve got the Building Commissioner telling you yourself be careful – that is the fairest thing to say. He’d be lying if he said don’t worry, the government is going to get this right.”
It comes after Building Commissioner David Chandler was criticised at a budget estimates hearing on Monday for saying homebuyers should take it upon themselves to inspect apartments before they settle and adopt a “buyer beware” mindset.
“If I was in the market for a $750,000 apartment I would certainly be looking at who was the builder and I would certainly be wanting to have a better look at the apartment and the building before I settled,” he said.
Labor MP Courtney Houssos described Mr Chandler’s comments as “remarkable” while colleague Daniel Mookhey said he believed the average consumer would expect the government to regulate to ensure the product served up is acceptable.
Opal Tower in Sydney Olympic Park was evacuated on Christmas Eve when cracks appeared in the brand-new 392-unit high-rise.
Residents from 22 apartment are still unable to return due to ongoing remediation work.
Owners have launched a class action against the state government’s Sydney Olympic Park Authority – which owns the land on which Opal Tower sits – for losses incurred as a result of damage from defects.
It’s understood the total value of sales in the 36-storey tower was approximately $350 million and the claim could be around that figure.
Mr Eskander, who purchased his unit off-the-plan, advised homebuyers to avoid purchasing an apartment built in the last five years and know what they are buying.
“It is not our role to go and ensure the correct concrete strength was applied, the correct amount of steel reinforcement was there … what are we paying for at the end of the day if we’re doing all of that?” he said.
“It is not our job but until the government realises they have to change this industry … 100 per cent buyers beware of buying off-the-plan apartments.”
Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson last week introduced a suite of reforms into parliament to tighten the state’s construction industry.
*They include new measures to make it easier for owners of defective apartments pursue damages and a new registration scheme for building practitioners.
*Lead researcher in the field of defective buildings Dr Nicole Johnston of Deakin University said that while it was true “everyone needs to be a little bit more conscious”, the most problematic defects are not observable.
She also said it was costly and time consuming to make checks on off-the-plan purchases and “no amount of due diligence can provide certainty that you are buying something safe”.
“There’s no way a potential purchaser would know the membrane applied to a wall will cause a systemic leak – they can’t see behind a wall, there’s only so much investigation they can do,” she said.
Labor spokeswoman for better regulation Yasmin Catley said it was “pretty obvious there has been a serious failure of regulation in the building industry and we need to immediately restore confidence.”