BUILDING DEFECTS IN A STRATA PROPERTY
The residential multi-storey apartment buildings defects are in the spotlight with structural defects to Opal Tower and Mascot Tower requiring evacuation, the ‘Sugarcube’, Zetland with the Council not allowing occupation, which were on top of the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 and the fire at the Lacrosse Building in Melbourne in 2014.
The UNSW 2012 City Futures Survey found 72% of all Apartments had defects reported by their owners and Apartments completed after 2000 reported defects at a rate of 85%.
Deakin and Griffith University researchers conducted a similar study, where at least one defect was reported in 97% of NSW apartments, and 85% across wall states.
The most common building defects in the studies were water ingress, internal and external wall cracking, roofing damage and tiling faults.
The most common types of building defects in apartments that we encounter are:
- Waterproofing Failures: The waterproofing systems installed vary dramatically from liquid applied coatings to sheet membranes that are installed to Flat Roofs, Balcony Terraces, Wet Areas (Bathrooms) and Basements. Their failure leads to water ingress into the building. Waterproofing failures present about 30% of all defects but accounts for up to 60% of the cost of repairs.
- Structural Failures: Design inadequacies and builder defective construction create Structural failures such as severe building movements, cracking and dislocations in the Structure that can lead to collapse.
- Drainage Deficiencies: The roof, balconies and terraces drainage systems that fail to collect and dispose of the surface rainwater leading to ponding and water ingress.
Facade Cladding: The installation of Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) panels to the facades of the building that are combustible allowing the ignition and travel of a fire throughout the building. These combustible panels are now prohibited throughout Australia, but existing buildings still remain.
The moral of the story for Strata Managers and new Owner’s Corporations is to ensure building defect inspections are undertaken and reported within the statutory warranty periods to ensure that all defects identified are rectified by the builder.
Partridge Remedial Director