Building Defects

In a recent case, Ippolito v Cesco [2020] NSWSC 561 (“Cesco”), the Supreme Court shed further light on this question.


The list of Sydney properties on the combustible cladding register has been made public and the results are shocking. 341 properties are on the register in Sydney alone and many of these are high profile, residential, retail and public buildings. Even more shocking is that no mandatory assessment regime has been imposed and that fire safety orders have been made in only 7 cases.


A letter from Bannermans Laywers to the Minister regarding Building Defects in Leasehold Strata Title Properties


Strata owners facing the cost of council orders requiring the replacement of combustible cladding are looking for potential solutions against the manufacturers under the Australian Consumer Law.


On Tuesday, 5 May 2020, residents had to flee the 48-storey Abbco Tower in Sharjah as a result of the building catching fire, with flames shooting up the sides of the building.  Reports say that the fire caused flaming debris to spray neighbouring parking lots and left metal siding littered on surrounding streets.


The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (“DBPA”) makes game changing provisions and will have a significant impact on the building industry and on strata schemes.


The DBPA commences in stages:


Reform Finally!


The strata sector has for a number of years now lived with:


Regulatory Reform


On 1 September 2020 the Residential Apartments Act commences. These are the main regulatory limbs through which the NSW Government, in conjunction with the existing Home Building Act, hope to create a more consumer friendly construction industry, and thus avoid high rise defect disasters such as Opal Towers and Mascot Towers.


When faced with defective residential building works and a builder unable to satisfy a claim, focus will obviously shift to home owner warranty insurance.


However, having been intended as a last resort measure, this is subject to some significant limitations:


A Response to Notoriously Defective Buildings


The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) is the major legislative response to public concerns regarding defective buildings in New South Wales. Major developments at Mascot Towers and Opal Towers have received notorious media attention, and residential owners have been exposed to eye-watering rectification costs.