Podcast 91: Crackdown on dud developers hits home

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Elsewhere in this post

We have one of our longest ever Flat Chat Wrap podcasts this week, but it’s all good so brace yourselves, pace yourselves and buckle up for some interesting material from our multitude of guests (well, three, to be exact).

First there is the redoubtable Karen Stiles who is the Executive Officer at the Owners Corporation Network (OCN) and, as such, has a seat at the table for some of the most critical discussions being made about NSW strata in decades.

Karen has come on to the podcast to explain how Building Commissioner David Chandler has the power (and is using it) to enter newly completed blocks that are still under warranty and then order the builders or developers to fix the defects.

One developer has already heard the hard word and is considering their options, while another has “surrender tackled” and is just getting on with fixing things

And what if they refuse?  The Commissioner’s plan to stop future defects will see problem developers identified early by calculating an agglomeration of bad history and previous use of poorly performing certifiers, architects, engineers and builders.

They will then come under severe scrutiny that could result in them being ordered to fix defects as they go, and if they don’t, denied certificates of occupation which will mean they won’t be able to complete the sale of  their apartments.

Thus, if Big Dave has told your developer to get their houses (or, in this case, flats) in order and you decline to do so, you could be entering a world of short-term pain and long-term extinction.

Revolutionary

It’s revolutionary stuff, and continuing the theme of fundamental change, Chris Duggan and Tony Irvine from Strata Community Australia (NSW) – the strata managers’ professional body – joined us via Zoom, to explain their plan to raise the professional standards of their members to the point where accreditation must be earned and maintained by increased education and training and constant scrutiny of their performance.

This would be a huge step forward for strata managers – putting them on a par with professions like accountancy – and brings with it the promise of better consumer protections.

Also on the agenda with the SCA bosses was the issue of building facilities management contracts and why they need to be pulled back from the crazy 10-year-plus deals that exist now, why apartment owners need more help on cladding, and why the much vaunted short-term holiday letting code of conduct is presumably under a too-hard basket somewhere in the bowels of Fair Trading.

It’s an interesting and informative chat, and well worth a listen.

Finally, in our Hey Marthas, we discuss why Queenland’s coronavirus restrictions are good news for swingers … unless they want to dance at weddings.

That’s all in this week’s bumper Flat Chat Wrap.

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