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Watchdog sees ‘promising findings’ in NSW strata survey 

Building Commission NSW has backed recent construction industry reforms despite a new survey finding more than half of strata buildings in the state have serious defects. 

The 2023 study, conducted with the state Strata Community Association, found 53% of 642 buildings surveyed had severe defects, up from 39% in 2021. 

The most common defects concerned waterproofing and fire safety systems – accounting for 42% and 24% of documented issues respectively. 

Despite the rise in defects compared with its 2021 survey, the regulator says the results showcase the impact of industry reforms introduced in 2019. 

“While 39% of buildings were reported to have a serious defect in 2021, this was done without a list of serious defects being provided to strata managers,” the survey report said. “To ensure strata managers knew what to consider as serious defects, the 2023 survey included a list of serious defect types. 

“The incidence of serious defects appeared to have trended down since the Residential Apartment Buildings Act and Design and Building Practitioners Act came into force in 2020. [The] rise in defects (from 39% to 53%) may be just as attributable to the change in the question wording (and probably more so) than a true increase in the incidence of serious defects being reported.” 

The report finds the most common barrier to resolving defects is lack of action from builders and developers. About 54% of buildings with unfinished work had been waiting more than 18 months.  

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler says the survey has “promising findings” for the industry despite the high rate of issues.  

“What we’re seeing is that from the commencement of the reforms back in 2020, it’s a very steep decline now in the incidence of reported defects,” he said. 

Click here for the full report.