Ipsos Poll; Are we right to fear the structural integrity of Sydney high-rise buildings?

By February 3, 2020 No Comments

The Committee for Sydney, an independent think tank, recently commissioned Ipos to survey Sydney residents, asking what most concerned them in relation to high-rise apartments. Of those surveyed, 36 per cent were concerned and 48 per cent a little concerned, about the structural integrity of high-rises. Only 16 per cent did not have any safety concerns.

The survey attributed the findings to the problems at Opal and Mascot Towers, both buildings of which had to be evacuated due to safety concerns related to structural integrity. These two cases have been highly publicised, the question is though, has the problem been sensationalised? The answer is both yes, and no.

All buildings have defects. Not all buildings have defects of such an extent that there is a genuine safety concern in relation to structural integrity. Deakin University, in research headed by Dr Nicole Johnston found that while the most prevalent defects are connected to the building fabric and cladding, none of the reports analyzed in that research identified structural defects that posed an imminent safety threat due to potential collapse.

However, the second most common defect category was in relation to fire safety systems. While these defects may not pose a threat of collapse, they do present genuine and concerning safety issues. The report found that 92% of consequences caused by fire safety defects relate to safety. You can read the full report here. It is presented in an easy to understand format.

There is no doubt that Australia, and Sydney in particular, has a serious problem with building defects. And there is no simple reason or solution, although stakeholders across Government and sectors are working towards better consumer protections, including the proposed new rating system for developers and developers.

In the meantime, overdramatization is not helpful either. Yes, every building has some sort of defects. Many of them very serious. However Sydney is not on the verge of mass building collapse, and the vast majority of high rise residents need not fear their building is going to fall down. It’s integrity in the event of a fire, well that’s another story.

The team at Concierge at Home do not work with building developers or builders, so when we manage your building, you know we are working only for you in the management of defects. We are well practiced in the management of building defects helping deliver owners economically sound but fair outcomes.

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