NSW: “anytime, anywhere” inspections for Wollongong apartments

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 4 September, 2022 - 12:15
Industry news
New South Wales

NSW Fair Trading, SafeWork NSW and the NSW Builder Commissioner recently commenced “anytime, anywhere” inspections on residential apartment buildings in the Wollongong region.

The audits targeted multi-unit residential buildings that are currently under construction or recently completed, with a focus on looking for early signs of major building defects, non-compliance and safety.

The inspections were part of the NSW Government’s commitment to ensuring safe and compliant building standards in regional NSW, said Department of Customer Service director for building and construction, Matthew Whitton.

“There has been an increase in the construction of multi-storey apartment buildings in the Wollongong region,” Whitton said.

“These inspections help ensure people in regional areas have access to safe and compliant dwellings.

“The community should have confidence developers are being held to account for poor work such as waterproofing, fire safety and defective construction that can cause huge headaches financially and emotionally for consumers down the track.”

There have been significant reforms to the building and construction industry that have improved the design and construction of apartment buildings in NSW.

These included the introduction of the Design and Building Practitioners Act and the Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT), a five-star system to rate builders, certifiers and developers.

A minimum benchmark average of three stars out of five was required for a builder to be deemed trustworthy.

Further, the NSW Residential Apartment Building (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act has also impacted industry practices to help in constructing more trustworthy buildings.

“If defects are found, they have to be addressed under the law,” NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler said.

“NSW Fair Trading can order a builder to immediately rectify defects or even stop work until the defects are repaired.”

In addition to building defects and compliance, SafeWork NSW inspectors will assess work health and safety compliance on building sites and address any issues that affect worker safety.

For more information on the NSW Government’s building and construction reform program visit the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner web page.