Protecting Sydney From Substandard Apartments

I was pleased to see the Sydney Morning Herald today shine a light on the issue of private building certification ("Board too slow to act over building complaints, says resident").

Private building certification poses an obvious conflict of interest and often fails to protect people living in and purchasing apartments.

1424070337262[1]I opposed its introduction in 1997 because of this, and since then we've seen public interest put at risk by commercial pressure on private building certifiers to keep the person who pays their wages happy.

The majority of new buildings in the inner-city are multi-storey apartment blocks built by developers or inexperienced speculators who have a vested interest in reducing their costs and increasing their returns. Sometimes the certifier is kept in the dark by the developer or builder and is not aware that certain works have been done or how they have been done.

People buying into these apartment blocks should have the assurance that the private certifiers have acted in the public interest, not in the interests of the developers who pay their fees.

It is time for the NSW Government to act on this and amend the Environment Planning and Assessment Act to provide certainty for consumers and to protect people from living or renting substandard apartments.

This is an important issue that I intend to raise with the Sydney Association of Metropolitan Mayors.