NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler wants more people to come forward with legitimate complaints about defects.
NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler wants more people to come forward with legitimate complaints about defects.

Calls for residents and owners to complain about defects

Builders and developers are making millions off defect-riddled apartment buildings because of people's reluctance to come forward and tell authorities about major problems.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler says apartment owners' willingness to engage lawyers before they speak to Fair Trading is crippling his ability to boot the opportunists out of the industry.

He says many of these have unusually clean records because Fair Trading has not received complaints about them.

Mr Chandler is urging people to come forward about major defects, including waterproofing, fire safety, structural issues, brickwork and cladding as well as acoustics.

Substandard waterproofing work done on an apartment complex in Newcastle. The building was less than three years old when the photos were taken.
Substandard waterproofing work done on an apartment complex in Newcastle. The building was less than three years old when the photos were taken.

The Saturday Telegraph can reveal the number of apartment building defect complaints referred to Fair Trading's building dispute resolution system has almost doubled from 103 last year to 201 this year - with more than four months to go.

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Poor waterproofing is the number one issue, driven in part by this year's heavy rains.

Fair Trading has received an additional 237 building defect complaints this year, a number Mr Chandler would like to see increase.

"By not coming to Fair Trading there is no visibility of the issues," he said.

"We are sublimely unaware that those issues exist."

From September 1 owners of apartment buildings with defects will benefit immediately from the statutory duty of care that applies to all new buildings and those less than 10 years old.

Mark Ahern wants his new bathroom ceiling fixed. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Mark Ahern wants his new bathroom ceiling fixed. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Property owner Mark Ahearn said he remained frustrated that developer Mulpha Norwest would not fix a rotting ceiling caused by excessive condensation.

Mark Ahearn’s damaged bathroom ceiling. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Mark Ahearn’s damaged bathroom ceiling. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

He purchased the property for $765,000 in 2018 and said Fair Trading had so far been unable to help.

"It seems like I've got more protection buying a pushbike than I do a new home," he said.

"Developers in NSW have no obligation to be responsible for any of their actions and developers like Mulpha are prepared to exploit this situation to their benefit."

 

 

 

Mulpha Norwest construction manager Peter Khodeir said the firm was "attending to matters that have been ­reported".

"Mulpha Norwest has a strong focus on quality, however some new developments may experience minor issues once a resident moves in and properties are 'lived in'," he said.

"For the recording of quality assurance and ensuring a comprehensive response to any issues that may arise, we provide residents with a customer care email, which enables them to log issues 24/7."

Originally published as Calls for residents, owners to complain about defects

The tiles in this Newcastle building complex show substandard waterproofing.
The tiles in this Newcastle building complex show substandard waterproofing.


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