Australian Apartment Advocacy (AAA) has welcomed the State Government announcement today that mandatory audits will commence during apartment construction from 2026.
WA is the only State currently not to undertake mandated audits.
The announcement comes with a range of other changes which will include the licensing of water proofing and fire installers.
AAA CEO Ms Reece stated that with the Government seeking 47% of the housing in WA to be apartments it was appropriate that consumer protections were updated accordingly.
“These mandated audits are not independent i.e. the developer will appoint the auditor, but I have been assured by DMIRS that there will be peer reviews conducted by their team and penalties if apartments do not meet Australian Standards and National Construction Code,” Ms Reece said.
“With the Perth apartment market in crisis, this move will provide a level of reassurance but still AAA is recommending that buyers hold off purchasing off the plan until these new protection measures come into place.”
Apartment buyers have been hit with a range of issues lately including lengthy delays with construction, stamp duty bills prior to settlement and significant defects, as witnessed at Shenton Quarter.
“For too long WA has been seen as the Wild West and with the Building Confidence Report being released five years ago we are grateful to Minister Ellery for her commitment to consumer protection,” Ms Reece said.
“Now we need to be focused on providing insurance for four storeys and greater, as currently if the builder goes bust the owners are forced to pay any defect bills.
“Our research on behalf of DMIRS indicates that there are about 7000 WA apartment owners with a combined defect bill of $20 million and the developer walks away scott-free.”
AAA is the only apartment consumer protection watchdog in WA and was established in 2016. Its bi-annual research in 2023 demonstrated that the presence of defects had increased to 66% from 2021 (60%).
To read more about the proposed reforms click here.