Building certifiers push a long time coming, but still undercooked

Australian Greens

The ACT Greens have today welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement that Government certifiers will be used to inspect large-scale residential developments, but say the Government can, and must, do more to improve building standards.

The ACT Greens today called on the ACT Government to expand the scheme to go beyond large-scale residential developments. The Greens argue that all buildings where the builder has been the subject of regulatory action should be assessed by a Government building certifier.

The ACT Assembly’s Planning Committee recently heard evidence from several witnesses who had been seriously impacted by builders not complying with the rules, and a general concern from many that current regulation of builders and developers is not strong enough to stop rogue operators from flouting the rules.

At the time, Ms Le Couteur, as Planning Committee Chair and the only Green MLA on the Committee, urged the other parties to crack down on dodgy developers, especially repeat offenders, by ensuring that where a builder has been the subject of regulatory action by Access Canberra, the certifier for their future projects is appointed by the ACT Government. This was not supported by the ACT Labor and Canberra Liberals committee members.

Comments attributable to Caroline Le Couteur MLA, ACT Greens Planning Spokesperson:

“When people buy a new home, they have no way of knowing how well it has been built. They have to trust the regulatory system to make sure it is free from major defects. Unfortunately, all too often over the past twenty years, they have been let down by that system.

“Some developers in Canberra have made it their business model to deliver faulty homes then walk away leaving the new owners bearing the cost.

“I am regularly contacted by people facing serious financial and personal stress because of a defective home. These have ranged from major structural problems to waterproofing failures, flammable cladding and apartments that are unliveable due to very loud creaking and popping noises when the building heats up and cools down.

“A substantial number of owners of new apartments in this city are forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars for repair works for their defective buildings. Some end up with a home that is almost-unsaleable because the problems are so severe, and the builder is so obstructionist, that the defects will never be fixed. That is deeply unfair.”

Comments attributable to Rebecca Vassarotti, ACT Greens Campaign Planning Spokesperson:

“The Greens broadly welcome this announcement. That being said, we don’t think this goes far enough. While this announcement suggests ACT Labor is listening to the community, this is not particularly well-thought out. It begs the obvious question – why now, but not sooner?”

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