A leading consultant has slammed the government’s approach to ensuring residential properties are built to minimum standards.
A leading property industry consultant says Australian governments have dropped the ball when it comes to ensuring residential properties are built to minimum standards.
Bronwyn Weir, director of Weir Legal and Consulting, co-authored the Building Confidence report, into improving compliance for the building and construction industry.
Speaking at today’s Australian Apartment Advocacy Conference, Ms Weir highlighted the “systemic failures” in the country’s building industry.
She said the sector’s approach to construction created a lack of transparency and the industry needed greater independent oversight.
Ms Weir said governments around the country were pouring millions, if not billions, into getting new builds off the ground, but not on compliance.
“You can pour a lot of money into the industry but we need investment into fixing the systems that are providing poor quality buildings,” she said.
“They [governments] are not pouring money into the regulation and reforms required so buildings meet minimum requirements.”
Ms Weir said despite industry being on board with the recommendations made in the Building Confidence report as it was released in 2018, governments had done very little to implement these changes.
She said that was particularly true of the Western Australian government, which had done nothing to act on the recommendations.
“There has been no sense of urgency, yet governments are willing to pump billions of dollars into this sector, when we know we have systemic failures,” Ms Weir said.
Australian Apartment Advocacy founder Samantha Reece highlighted the lack of confidence among apartment buyers to buy off the plan, with only 14 per cent of prospective apartment owners being comfortable with this move.
She also said apartment defects were becoming more prevalent, with a survey among apartment owners showing that 68 per cent experienced defects.
She said of these 68 per cent, 5 per cent believed the state government was doing a good job to ensure building quality.
Water penetration and structural cracking were the most common of these.
WA's Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety stipulates codes and standards for health, safety and sustainabilty in the building industry.
The National Construction Code highlights building standards for construction, but it is understood that these are not enforceable by law.
A spokesperson for the state government recently told Business News the government was keeping a close eye on the industry and working with relevant construction groups.
“The McGowan Government has already introduced reforms to the State's home indemnity insurance scheme which doubles the maximum payouts to home owners, better protecting home owners in the event a builder becomes insolvent," the spokesperson said.
“The reform which was announced last year means eligible homeowners may be entitled to up to $40,000 for lost deposits, and up to $200,000 for incomplete or defective works in the event their builder dies, disappears, or becomes insolvent.”