Apartment advocates crisis summit
The Australian Apartment Advocacy have called for both major political parties to agree to hold a crisis summit within 100 days of the election outcome to address severe issues in the apartment sector. Image – Canva
  • AAA have called for a crisis summit to be held within 100 days of election outcome
  • Apartment owners living through a "nightmare of issues" including defect and insurance concerns, says Ms Reece
  • Spate of builder collapses also major concern, with more on the horizon

Ahead of the looming Federal Election, Australia’s peak body representing apartment owners has called for a crisis summit to address issues in the apartment sector.

The Australian Apartment Advocacy (AAA) has urged both major political parties to set their differences aside and agree to hold a crisis summit within 100 days of the election outcome.

The AAA says neither party has done enough to address several issues faced by apartment owners.

Concern for looming builder collapses

AAA head Samantha Reece said apartment owners have experienced a “nightmare of issues” which the government has failed to effectively address since the last election.

“The new Federal Government has got to sit down and address the problems that confront the apartment and home unit sector.”

Samantha Reece, AAA head

Among the concerns outlined by Ms Reece was the recent spate of builder collapses, leaving homeowners vulnerable.

Within the past month alone several builders have gone into liquidation including Probuild, New Sensation and most recently Home Innovation.

For apartment owners who find defects in their home, there is little hope it will be fixed without extra costs if their builder has already collapsed.

“There are too many builders cutting corners in the current housing boom and too
many builder collapses that have left apartment and unit owners with voided
warranties and defect nightmares and no recourse for getting their properties
fixed,” said Ms Reece.

The trend is troubling for the apartment and unit sector, and may even see more collapses on the horizon as construction companies battle supply shortages and price uncertainty.

“Petrol prices will drive up the cost of building materials even more, so we expect
the problem to get worse before it gets better,” she added.

Safety and livelihoods at risk

Alongside builder collapses, AAA are plagued by concerns that builders are delivering substandard work and cutting corners to cash in on the building boom.

The AAA say the safety of apartment owners is being put at risk, with flammable cladding and unsafe building material still being used.

“Builders are turning to China for cheaper materials and over the last three years
we have seen substandard electrical cable installed that has led to appliance fires, substandard glass that has cracked, fallen out or shattered in apartment buildings and other cladding products that have included asbestos, all from China,” said Ms Reece.

sam reece
Samantha Reece, AAA head. Image supplied.

She added that all industry and academic reports released in the last three years reveled substandard building practices.

The data also indicated that approximately half of all newly-built apartments had significant defects.

Ms Reece added that the AAA are also feeling a sense of unease about insurance costs for apartment and unit owners, labeling the issue a “sleeping giant”.

“The Federal Government has legislated for $10 billion for a reinsurance pool in
North Queensland from 1 July 2022 in the wake of natural disasters and the floods
on the eastern seaboard over the last month, which will drive up insurance costs
to the point where apartment and unit owners will no longer be able to afford the
correct insurance cover, or they will under insure,” she said.

Calls for Federal Government to intervene

While the AAA acknowledged that some states are taking steps towards improving these conditions, the nation as a whole must do more.

“In New South Wales they have established the officer of Building Commissioner
to address these problems and that has been a very important initiative.

“The cowboy builders in New South Wales are feeling the heat and that needs to happen in every other State and Federally.” 

The AAA hope to see all of these issues addressed by the Federal Government, and are advocating for a crisis summit to be held.

“Australian Apartment Advocacy wants to see a summit called within 100 days of the Federal election outcome to address the nightmare issues that continue for apartment and unit owners,” Ms Reece concluded.

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