Industry experts will meet on Wednesday to discuss the pressure of rising costs for apartment owners as they deal with illegal cladding and building defect issues.
The "building defects and cladding in strata" forum in Canberra will give advice to strata owners and managers about strata building and compliance issues.
It is organised by Lannock Strata, whose finance managing director, Paul Morton, said Canberra’s property boom had exacerbated the problem over the past decade, with building standards often sacrificed to keep pace with demand.
“In 2016 alone, 3370 new apartments were approved in Canberra and many of these newer apartment buildings are most at risk of being constructed with composite aluminium cladding that we now know poses a serious fire risk,” Mr Morton said.
Owners needed information on affected buildings now, "not in the distant future", Mr Morton said, with safety the priority.
The forum will cover legal rights, insurance, construction, finance and government legislation related to composite aluminum cladding, fire risk and safety, non-complying building products and building defects.
Ross Daley, of Solutions in Engineering, said the issue was new territory for people who thought they were buying an apartment as a home or investment.
“Now, with rising insurance premiums due to the fire safety risk posed by illegal cladding and the very real possibility that the property may be unsellable without undergoing expensive rectification, they need to educate themselves very quickly" he said.
ACT government construction occupations registrar Craig Simmons will speak, along with Peter Berny of Solutions in Engineering, Omnii Fire Engineers' Andrew Brennan, Rod Tancred, from Body Corporate Brokers and Erik Adriaanse and Rob Craven, from the Strata Community Association.
Mr Daley said there was an urgent need to provide accurate information to strata owners trying to navigate their way through the complexities associated with the use of non-complying composite aluminium cladding.
Canberra’s rapid entry into high-density living may "ultimately cost investors more than they’d bargained for," he said.
The event comes after Unions ACT urged the territory government to audit privately-owned buildings in Canberra that may have combustible cladding and create a public register all buildings for such products last year.
The government is auditing all ACT government-owned buildings to identify any with combustible cladding and any that may need removal.
Flammable cladding was found in three buildings at the Canberra Hospital; the ANU Medical School, elements of the Radiation Oncology building and aspects of the Emergency, Diagnostics and Treatment department.
The Health Protection Services building at Holder and the Belconnen Community Health Centre also carried combustible cladding.
Mr Simmons said industry-led discussions gave strata owners the opportunity to educate and protect themselves.
“The more information people have the better decisions they can make,” said Mr Simmons.
“So events like this provide the opportunity to hear from the people who actually have responsibility for these issues. People can find out what the official position actually is, as opposed to hearing about it either second or third hand.”
The forum will be held on Wednesday, May 16 at 6.30pm at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra
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