One Nation’s policy for the March election is to ensure homebuyers have peace of mind that the property they purchased was constructed to comply with the relevant building codes.
Due to the massive and unprecedented influx of population into Sydney, there has been a corresponding demand for further dwellings. This, in turn, has led to a massive increase in the number of residential ‘tower’ style buildings. To meet this surge in demand there has been pressure on builders to complete projects quickly to sell on.
However, there is evidence to suggest that to take advantage of this demand and increase in prices some unscrupulous builders and developers have been “cutting corner” to complete buildings sooner and at a cost saving to them.
Due to weak enforcement of existing rules, builders and building certifiers are incentivised to reduce costs and they take risks in doing so. Because there is no significant enforcement of the building codes these parties reap the financial benefits to the detriment of the purchasers.
Because builders/developers are able to use a certifier of their own choice we believe that this leads to an inherent conflict between the regulatory role of the certifier and their commercial relationship with the developer.
It causes a serious conflict of interest situation where certifiers are chosen, engaged and paid for by developers who have an expectation that flaws in safety, quality and other compliance requirements will simply be ignored.
One Nation believes it is inappropriate for developers to choose their own certifiers without independent oversight and spot-checks, as proposed in our policy.
The recent Opal Tower incident has shone a light on these shonky, unlawful and downright dangerous practices.
In a report, commissioned by the Building Minister Forum and completed in February 2018, the authors of the report, Professor Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir concluded: “the nature and extent of the problems put to us are significant and concerning”. They further said, “They are likely to undermine the public trust in the health and safety of buildings if they are not addressed in a comprehensive manner”.
One Nation believes that the Coalition government has no credibility in this matter as they have been in bed with the developers for the last seven years. Under their control people living in their family homes, some for as long as 50 years have lost their privacy with overdevelopment next door. Buyers cannot be assured that the property they have purchased was built to code. Properties are a ticking time bomb.
Under this current government, control measures have been abused on their watch. The governments’ response, “the biggest shake-up in building construction law in history” are an admission of failure. Otherwise, why is there a need for the said “shake-up”.
One Nation proposes the establishment of a regulatory body such as a ‘State Building Authority’. This body would be given sweeping powers to monitor buildings in all stage of planning and construction and where necessary to take strong compliance and enforcement action.
This Authority would be given powers to (but not limited to):
Enter building sites for the purpose of monitoring compliance
To demand and seize documents relating to the planning and construction of a building
To investigate complaints or to investigate proactively
To be able to seize and test materials used in the building process
Be able to stop all works and make rectification orders
Ensure that all certifiers, engineers etc are mandatory reporters of breaches of compliance
To commence disciplinary processes and have the power to commence prosecutions
Only One Nation can be trusted in this regard.
Purchasing a home is stressful enough without having to worry about whether they are being taken for a ride by dodgy developers and certifiers.
One Nation wants a state where the family’s biggest investment is secure with the knowledge that the government did everything it could to ensure compliance with the building code.