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  • Samantha Reece

New Federal Government called on to agree to summit within 100 days of election

The peak body representing the interests of 2.5million apartment and unit owners in Australia wants both major political parties to agree – prior to the Federal election – to call a crisis summit within 100 days of the Federal poll outcome, to address declining confidence in the residential construction industry.

It says both parties have not done enough to address the issue.

Australian Apartment Advocacy head, Samantha Reece, says apartment owners have lived through a “nightmare of issues” over the last three years since the last election that have included:

  • Flammable cladding mess still not fixed

  • Unsafe building materials still being used

  • Poor construction standards showing no significant improvement

  • Chinese imports of sub-standard building materials

  • Sky rocketing insurance costs

  • The staggering collapse of residential construction companies over the last 12 months leaving new owners without building warranty to fix defects

“The new Federal Government has got to sit down and fix the problems that confront the apartment and home unit sector,” Ms Reece said.

“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 to get their properties fixed.”

Ms Reece said there was serious concern within the apartment and home unit sector that more building collapses, like PROBUILD last month, would happen over the next 12 months as construction companies battled supply shortages and uncertain prices.

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

“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.”

Ms Reece said industry and academic reports during the last three years had all shown substandard building standards with around 50% of all new apartments facing significant defects.

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

“The cowboy builders in NSW are feeling the heat and that needs to happen in every other State and Federally.

“Insurance costs for apartment and unit owners are also a sleeping giant.

“The Federal Government has legislated for $10billion for a reinsurance pool in North Queensland from 1 July in the wake of natural disasters and the floods on the eastern seaboard over the last month 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.

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

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