Chief slams build culture

BUILDING and construction in NSW needs a “sea change in industry culture”, according to newly appointed NSW building commissioner David Chandler.

No regulation, protection

Just days into his new role, he was speaking before an inquiry into ‘the regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes’, established by the NSW Upper House’s Public Accountability Committee.
The inquiry was launched after hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate their homes due to concerns over major faults, firstly in in the Opal residential tower at Sydney Olympic Park in December 2018, and then from the 132-unit Mascot Towers in Zetland in June this year.
While scathing in his opinion of the way some builders were operating, Mr Chandler said regulation and compliance weren’t going to solve all the issues.
“The picture is much bigger than this.” he said.
Agreeing with a characterisation from a committee member that the Mascot and Opal towers were “the tip of the iceberg”, Owners Corporation Network director, Jane Hearn, said it was “self-evident that in NSW we are facing a systemic failure in the industry and in the regulatory system”.
“We have rapid urban development and more and more people living in taller, far more complex residential and mixed-use buildings,” she said.
“It is a far more complex market than it once was. At the same time, the level of consumer protection has been wound back.”
An online questionnaire put out as part of the inquiry received 390 responses, including two residents or owners from Opal Towers, with 91.7 per cent of respondents saying they were “very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with the current process of private certification”.
Over 90 per cent of respondents also believe the protections for owners and purchasers of new apartments/dwellings are highly inadequate or inadequate.