Crisis in building and construction sector: Lord Mayor Clover Moore

Crisis in building and construction sector: Lord Mayor Clover Moore
Crisis in building and construction sector: Lord Mayor Clover Moore

GUEST OBSERVATION

The building defects crisis is undermining confidence in the construction industry and causing heartbreak and financial difficulty for owners and residents of affected multi-storey buildings.

A number of apartment buildings in the City of Sydney have recently made the news due to defects that, in some cases, have left them unfit for occupation due to faults that have occurred in the construction process. These include structural cracks, problems with water proofing, inadequate fire safety and soil contamination.

It is utterly irresponsible that successive state governments have allowed this to occur by removing independent certification and professional supervision of construction sites.

In 1997, as Member for Bligh in State Parliament, I was one of only two MPs to oppose changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that handed over authority to private certifiers to approve certain categories of development.

I told the NSW Parliament that self-regulation would not work, and that public interest would be put at risk by time and cost saving pressures put on private building certifiers to keep the person who pays their wages on side.

These warnings were sadly prophetic. Now the NSW Government must act urgently to reinstate independent onsite construction inspectors, and ensure engineers and similar professionals are adequately accredited.

It is essential that certification of all buildings, particularly multi-storey residential buildings, be carried out by a third party independent of the builder. This would ensure proper checks and balances to protect amenity and the environment, and address the conflict of interest that currently exists when private certifiers are being paid by the building contractor.

It is right that the NSW Government has established a Public Accountability Inquiry into the regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes.

The City has made a submission (see here) to the inquiry and we look forward to seeing its recommendations for independent and professional oversight acted on as a matter of great urgency.

CLOVER MOORE is an Australian politician, She has been the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney since 2004

Tags: 
Building Construction Building Defects

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