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Buildings crisis will take years to resolve: Sedgwick

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The building industry crisis exposed by the Lacrosse apartment fire is tipped to take years to resolve as issues from past failures continue to emerge.

State and territory ministers have committed to recommendations in a report by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir to improve compliance and enforcement nationally.

Sedgwick National Manager Commercial Services and Major Projects Bruce McKenzie says the report is a milestone in addressing a previous piecemeal approach and will drive improved documentation and transparency, but addressing issues will be a slow process.

“It will take a few years for all these recommendations to absorb into the industry and be implemented properly and to get effective change,” Mr McKenzie told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“The industry is in crisis at the moment, there have been so many different failures.”

The Building Ministers’ Forum in February followed cracking in the Opal Tower in Sydney and came after the Neo200 fire in Melbourne again highlighted the flammable cladding issue.

Mr McKenzie says a royal commission on the failings, as suggested this month by Builders Collective President Phil Dwyer, could be beneficial, particularly as more problems are highlighted.

State registers of buildings should also make people more aware of failings, he says.

“I think the magnitude of the whole problem is going to become more apparent in the next few months – it is certainly going to be more transparent – and as that occurs, I think the concern about the industry overall is going to increase,” he said.

Sedgwick has taken a close interest in the issue since being involved with the 2014 Lacrosse incident, both as a loss adjuster and in project managing repairs, giving it a broad view of the problems from different perspectives.

Mr McKenzie says property owners are probably the most affected by the crisis, particularly if they are unable to pursue statutory warranties and have to fund works and seek recovery afterwards.

Impacts will also flow to tenants concerned by building risks and will affect property values, he says.