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Defects in WA apartments on the rise

The Australian Apartment Advocacy has warned buyers that defects in apartments are on the rise.

In 2021 AAA's research, which spoke to 3600 apartment owners, showed that 60% of apartment owners had defects. However the same research conducted in 2023 now indicates that defects have increased to 66%.

Ms Reece stated that this increase was attributable to a number of factors including lack of skilled workers, increase in construction costs and lack of oversight with construction standards.

"What is deeply concerning is that these key defects impact on the lifespan of the building and relate to structural cracking, failing waterproofing, non compliant fire installation and water penetration," Ms Reece said.

"The race to the bottom with builders being forced to complete the build within a set budget has a knock on effect with the standard of the construction.

"And to add insult to injury only 26% of owners have had their defects fixed by the builder, leaving these issues lagging for the majority of owners."

Ms Reece said moving forward apartment buyers were seeking more surety from Government and developers alike.

"79% of our survey respondents would like to hold the developer more accountable if the builder goes bust and that is understandable as AAA estimates that there are approximately 7000 Perth apartment owners with a combined defects bill of $20 million because their builder has gone bust and they are in a building which is four storeys or higher (Home warranty insurance is only provided for three storeys and below)."

"70% also want mandatory inspections of apartments during construction to verify build quality."

In conclusion Ms Reece stated that the Government had an opportunity to create a real legacy by introducing recommendations from the Building Confidence Report including licensing of water proofing, fire installation, mandatory audits and defect liability insurance.

"The State Government needs to listen to their voters as we approach the next election and not industry associations who are seeking minimal standards.

"AAA wishes to advocate apartments but we can only do that when State Government matches consumer protection on par with other States."

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