Building Commissioner David Chandler - Championing Improved Apartment Building Standards For NSW

Almost 2 years after David Chandler was appointed to the role of NSW Building Commissioner, he’s made a name for himself as a ‘no nonsense’ operator, determined to clean up an industry tarnished by sub-standard building practices.  

Few would forget the Opal and Mascot tower debacles splashed across the news rightly eroding the confidence of would-be buyers and owners alike. The issues with these developments highlighted gross incompetence in parts of the industry that was being overlooked and resulted in urgent calls for reform and tighter regulation from the industry and consumer groups alike.  

As a result, the NSW Government appointed Mr Chandler -  a 40 year veteran in the industry -  and awarded him and his team unprecedented powers under the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW). The new laws have been implemented to halt the sale of buildings that have serious defects and to ensure builders and developers have a duty of care for apartment owners. 

The Commissioner has been unapologetic about exercising his power to clean up the industry and bring back the confidence of prospective buyers. Operators cutting corners and certifiers passing work not up to standard are square in his crosshairs. 

A Positive Force For Change.

Since the 1st of September last year, when the new laws officially came into effect, the Commissioner and his team have set to work inspecting building sites, preventing the issuing of occupation certificates when needed, ordering the rectification of serious defects and recovery of associated costs for projects exposed for defects. 

Common defects range from issues with waterproofing, structural issues with facades, too-small lift wells and generally shoddy workmanship up to much more serious structural issues such as those seen in the Opal Towers.

To date, Mr Chandler and his team have issued orders on nearly 1,000 apartments in ten developments across the state of NSW, to either fix minor defects or stop work and deny occupation certificates (source). Learn more about when Occupation certificates are issued.

Thanks to enforcement by the new Commissioner, builders and developers who have previously been cutting corners are cleaning up their acts and it’s having the desired effect on consumer confidence. In fact, the changes and initiatives he has brought to the sector have many consumer and industry groups calling for commissioners with the same powers and standards to be implemented nationally.

For now though, Mr Chandler and his team have got the NSW industry on notice, and that’s a good thing for everyone.

Listen to Commissioner Chandler reflect more on the successes of the NSW building reform over 2020 in the NSW Building Commissioner Podcast.

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Published on 23rd of April 2021 by Michelle Leftwich
Michelle Leftwich
Michelle Leftwich

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