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Defects down in new apartments

2023 NSW survey results show a decline in common property defects since 2020

New apartments in New South Wales are displaying a decline in serious common property defects since 2020, according to a survey conducted by Building Commission NSW and Strata Community Association NSW.

The 2023 survey results were found after research was conducted into the prevalence of serious defects in class two residential apartment buildings and how strata communities deal with them.

“This survey presents some promising findings,” NSW building commissioner David Chandler says.

“It demonstrates a steady decline in the reported defects since 2020, and strata communities and future apartment purchasers should be increasingly confident that NSW is the most attractive state in which to purchase a new apartment.”

This research has been conducted before in 2021, when strata managers were surveyed and found that 39 per cent of strata buildings had serious defects on common property.

Results from the survey found:

  • 53 per cent of buildings have had serious defects in common property. Defects in newer buildings are trending downward since 2020
  • the proportion of serious defects reported to the regulator in 2023 has more than doubled since the 2021 survey, with 34 per cent of buildings with serious defects reported to the regulator in 2023, compared to 15 per cent in 2021
  • as in 2021, waterproofing and fire safety systems were the most prevalent defects (42 per cent and 24 per cent respectively for 2023). The prevalence of waterproofing defects has declined in recent years
  • owners fully resolving defects are mostly doing so by agreement with the builder or developer, with almost half being resolved within one year
  • 48 per cent of strata managers agreed that introduction of new laws in NSW have increased consumer confidence in residential apartments.

“While this survey delivers an important reminder of the legacy issues that reside in apartment buildings completed before the Construct NSW reform strategy commenced in 2019, it demonstrates that these reforms have shifted the dial in the right direction for newer buildings,” Chandler says.

“The incidence of waterproofing defects is declining, supported by what building inspectors are seeing in the field.

“The reported incidence of non-compliant fire safety and key building services installations has increased, possibly due to increased awareness of these building elements.”

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