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Regulator turning spotlight on Newcastle development


A three-prong agency assault will put the spotlight on residential apartment buildings in the Newcastle area this week.

NSW Fair Trading, SafeWork NSW and the NSW Builder Commissioner have kick-started “Anytime, Anywhere” inspections throughout the region.

The audits, taking place over a two-day period, will target multi-unit residential buildings that are currently under construction or recently completed, with a focus on looking for early signs of major building defects, non-compliance and safety.

NSW Department of Customer Service director for building and construction compliance Matthew Whitton said the inspections were part of the NSW Government’s commitment to ensuring safe and compliant building standards in regional NSW.

“There has been an increase in the construction of multi-storey apartment buildings in the Newcastle region,” he explained.

“These inspections help ensure people in regional areas have access to safe and compliant dwellings.

“The community should have confidence developers are being held to account for poor work such as waterproofing, fire safety and defective construction that can cause huge headaches financially and emotionally for consumers down the track.”

There have been significant reforms to the building and construction industry that have improved the design and construction of apartment buildings in NSW.

These included the introduction of the Design and Building Practitioners Act and the Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT), a five-star system to rate builders, certifiers and developers.

A minimum benchmark average of three stars out of five was required for a builder to be deemed trustworthy.

Further, the NSW Residential Apartment Building (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act has also transformed industry practices to deliver more trustworthy buildings to consumers.

“If defects are found, they have to be addressed under the law,” NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler said.

“NSW Fair Trading can order a builder to immediately rectify defects or even stop work until the defects are repaired.”

In addition to building defects and compliance, SafeWork NSW inspectors will assess work health and safety compliance on building sites and address any issues that affect worker safety.

For more information on the NSW Government’s building and construction reform program visit

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