Building Defects Campaign


Since November 2009 the Owners Corporation Network has been actively engaging the Government and the local media on the serious issue of poor building quality in the ACT Unit Title Medium and High Density Housing Sector. The latest result of this activity is that the Minister of Planning held a Building Quality Forum on Monday 26th July at the ACT Legislative Assembly.

The Agenda for this Forum and a Summary of the Issues to be discussed at the forum are provided via the links listed below.

Leading up to this forum the OCN initially wrote to Minister Barr on 25th November 2009 requesting a meeting on building defects in this sector. The Minister met with the OCN on 5th February 2010 and his letter of 30th April 2010 provided a partial summary of this meeting.

The OCN then participated in an ABC Stateline Programme on 21st May 2010. This programme generated considerable additional media attention including articles and Canberra Times letters to the editor, radio interviews and subsequent meetings were held with Green and Liberal MLAs. On the 26thMay 2010 the OCN submitted a written request to Chief Minister Jon Stanhope to commission a Judicial Inquiry into building defects and associated issues in the ACT.

To address this request on 7th June 2010 Minister Barr wrote to the OCN (and other stakeholders in this living sector) outlining eleven ideas to address the building quality issues and he asked for comments on his ideas. We responded on 30th June and had an additional meeting on the issues with ACT Planning and Land Authority on 13th July.

The Building Quality Forum was chaired by Minister Barr and involved around 30 individuals including senior people representing the building industry from interstate, and Canberra based representatives of the Real Estate Industry, Insurance Industry, Property Development Group, Trade Training Organisations and several Government Agencies. The OCN was invited to start the Forum by outlining consumer concerns. In general the participants accepted that building quality problems existed. The Minister resolved to set up a number of Working Groups to provide recommended short, medium and long term solutions to the problems. Areas to work on included, increased building inspections, more comprehensive building insurance, improved and increased trade training, joint survey by Master Builders/OCN/Strata Managers Institute to understand the dimensions of the building defects, and the need for greater Government regulation and broader trade and builder licensing.

During all of these deliberations the OCN has attempted to represent the interests of Owners in both A and B Class Unit Title complexes and in complexes built recently and not so recently. The OCN trusts it will be an active participant in any resultant activity emanating from the Building Quality Forum.

The opportunity for the public to participate in The ACT Government's Building Quality Survey has closed.

The ACT Government Discussion Paper Regulation of design and inspection practitioners in the construction industry dated December 2013 is now available at the above link.

To access the material referenced above, use these links:

1     OCN to Barr, 25th Nov 2009

2     Barr to OCN, 30th Apr 2010

3     Stateline, ABC1, 21st May 2010 (Transcript only, video has expired.)

4     OCN to Stanhope, 26th May 2010

5     Barr to OCN (and others), 7th June 2010

6     OCN to Barr, 30th June 2010

7     Building Quality Forum - Agenda, 26th July 2010

8    Building Quality Forum - Summary of Issues, 26th July 2010

9    Office of Regulatory Services Building Quality Survey (Now closed)

10  Regulation of design and inspection practitioners in the construction industry (December 2013)