Buying a high-rise apartment has become a game of financial Russian Roulette.
Over recent years we witnessed a proliferation of building faults and flammable cladding infernos at sites including Lacrosse, Neo200, Opal, Mascot, Zetland, Campsie, among others.
In 2019, Four Corners aired a segment entitled Cracking Up, where building law expert Bronwyn Weir encapsulated the issue with the following:
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“We have hundreds of thousands of apartments that have been built across the country over the last two, three decades. Probably the prevalence of noncompliance has been particularly bad, I would say in the last say 15 to 20 years […] And that means there’s a lot of existing building stock that has defects in it […] There’ll be legacy issues for some time and I suspect there’ll be legacy issues that we’re not even fully aware of yet”.
The issue has been thrown back into the spotlight with “apartment owners suing Sydney developer Toplace over dozens of ‘defects’ in near new Parramatta buildings”:
Two of Toplace’s three Riviera apartment towers on River Road in West Parramatta were finished in mid-2018 but just months after settlement, the building’s body corporate lodged action in the Supreme Court against the developers.
The body corporate claimed more than 40 types of defects were found, including corroding concrete and defective installation of windows, doors, bathtubs and toilets…
Toplace is the same developer behind the $260 million Skyview towers complex in Castle Hill, currently under review by its private certifier after concerns of alleged “defects” were noticed by Fair Trading officers who inspected the construction site in April.
Meanwhile in Victoria, owners are facing massive bills to replace flammable cladding:
Home owners who have been told their building is unsafe will need to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove combustible cladding from their homes after being led to believe an agency run by the state government would foot the bill…
The number of buildings that CSV [Cladding Safety Victoria] deems at high risk due to cladding has expanded to 695 from an initial estimate of 500, but the government has not added to the agency’s initial funding…
Emails seen by The New Daily show that some insurers have already hiked their premiums by 108 per cent and will consider ending policies next year if the owners have made insufficient progress on removing the flammable materials.
The high-rise debacle is the result of the failure of policy, which deregulated the building industry and eliminated the need for qualified inspectors to ensure these structures were built correctly.
The situation was made worse by a decade of hyper immigration into Melbourne and Sydney, which required building tens-of-thousands of extra homes every single year, thus leading to speed over quality and compromised building standards.