Those looking to buy a Wollongong apartment off-the-plan must do their homework regarding its construction beforehand, an academic says.
Australia has been in an apartment building boom during the past two decades, as governments removed red tape and introduced private certification.
Professor Tim McCarthy is Head of the School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wollongong.
Prof McCarthy said statewide, “we’ve been developing apartments at breakneck speed for quite some time”.
“We’ve freed up the certification process, which has led to a situation now where there’s potentially a conflict of interest from some certifiers,” he said.
“But there’s also been a removal of qualified engineers from the whole checking process.”
In July, Commonwealth, State and Territory building ministers met to establish a nationally consistent approach to reforming the building industry.
The call for a nationally consistent approach to reforming the building industry is drawn from the Shergold-Weir report’s recommendations.
These include that registration be required for all involved in the building process – builders, site managers, architects and building inspectors.
Prof McCarthy endorsed the proposal of a register.
He also offered some advice for those looking to buy apartments in Wollongong.
“Everybody should do their due diligence,” he said.
“Even when you’re buying off-the-plan, you should engage a building inspector or engineer to make sure that things are going to plan.”
The issue of defective high-rises made headlines when Sydney’s Opal and Mascot Towers were evacuated because of structural cracking.
Prof McCarthy said Wollongong may “dodge some of the bullets” that have plagued these industries in Sydney.
“But we’re not immune,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of local developers who would have a track record in the city, and that helps to improve quality.
“But we do see developers coming from Sydney and overseas who are putting up apartment blocks in Wollongong and further south.