Defect rates are high with only 15% reported to Fair Work since June. Image – Canva
  • High rates of strata building defects highlight the flaws in the current processes
  • Strata building owners often do not recover the costs of repair
  • The most common defects are in waterproofing, fire safety systems and structure

More than a third (39%) of strata buildings in NSW have a serious defect, according to a survey conducted by the Office of the Building Commissioner and Strata Community Australia NSW.

As well as creating great inconvenience to residents, the high defect rates leave a burden on strata managers. They are usually responsible for helping owners through the often complex process of defect repair.

Strata Community Association NSW President, Chris Duggan, hopes the findings will lead to practical government reform.

“The data highlights that the current process of defect rectification is causing unnecessary strain and cost to owners.”

Chris Duggan, Strata Community Association NSW President

The process of defect rectification is likely to take 12 months or more for many (38%) of strata corporations experiencing defects.

With the average cost of repair per building more than $330,000, it is unsurprising that the most common barrier to resolving defects is sourcing funds. 15% of respondents cited this as the main challenge.

The survey found that very few owners of strata corporations were able to recover their costs, the most common method of recovery was via an agreement with the developer or builder.

A strata building is a building divided into ‘lots’, including units or apartments. Image – Canva

A lack of awareness about rights and responsibilities was also a prominent barrier to resolving defects (14%).

Mr Duggan said that recent changes to how Fair Trading takes building issues will improve the speed and ease of resolution for defects.

“As of June 2021, 15% of serious defects were reported to NSW Fair Trading, and now these improvements will see owners and strata managers more confident that it will be an effective means of resolving building defects,” said Mr Duggan.

Building Commissioner David Chandler explained that along with new processes, new technical staff will enhance Fair Work’s compliance and complaint handling.

“Fair Trading will draw upon its new inspectorate to help identify the serious defects and can issue developers and builders with Building Work Rectification Orders which are publicly listed and carry big penalties for non-compliance.”

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