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REGULATORY REFORMS FOR RESIDENTIAL APARTMENT BUILDINGS DOWN UNDER – GETTING IT RIGHT FROM START TO FINISH

International Construction Law Review

REGULATORY REFORMS FOR RESIDENTIAL APARTMENT BUILDINGS DOWN UNDER – GETTING IT RIGHT FROM START TO FINISH

ANDREW CHEW (PARTNER)1

Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Sydney, Australia

BLAKE OSMOND (ASSOCIATE)

Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Sydney, Australia

ABSTRACT

New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, has taken a multi-pronged approach to tackling various challenges in the delivery of residential apartment buildings. Many of these challenges arise from unreliable quality assurance from designers, builders and property developers, the use of flammable cladding, poor governance by developers and the need for better oversight by financiers. A suite of new legislation has been introduced by the NSW State Government, and passed by the NSW Parliament, which gives the Regulator better oversight and enhanced powers, imposes harsher sanctions on corporations and personal liability for senior management, and encourages financial institutions to implement more prudent risk governance measures. It is hoped the changes will improve the quality of buildings, facilitate greater confidence in the construction industry, and ultimately, provide better protection for the owners of those dwellings.

INTRODUCTION

In recent years in Australia, there have been a number of high-rise apartment building failures – ranging from flammable cladding fires (such as the Lacrosse incident in 2014)2 to major structural defects in buildings (such as the Opal3 and Mascot4 buildings in Sydney,

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