The residents of the Kelkiah Apartment building went to bed uncertain last night whether they will be able to spend Christmas in their homes.
Inhabitants of the Macquarie building were advised by their owners corporation to leave their homes late on Tuesday, after engineers discovered structural and fire defects.
The episode recalls the anguish of the Opal Tower residents, who were evacuated on Christmas Eve 2018 after cracks were found in the building, sparking fears of collapse.
It is another reminder that the ACT government's legacy of inaction of building quality issues will have a long tail - as if we needed one.
Who could forget when the territory government was forced to step in last year and hire a contractor to install hundreds of props at the Kingston Place apartments, after the developer breached an emergency order to support the building?
Or the heartbreak endured by the Elara owners, after the government rejected their plea for $6 million in compensation to help pay for repairs to their defect-plagued complex after two failed court cases against the builders' insurance scheme.
The Barr government vowed before the election to reintroduce public certifiers after two decades of private regulation.
It has also introduced tighter builder licencing, promised to introduce a licencing scheme for developers, and beefed up its enforcement.
Access Canberra conducted more than 1800 building inspections and audits last financial year alone.
But as a Labor-dominated parliamentary committee heard in 2018, the ACT government has alive to problems within Canberra's construction sector since 2010.
The ACT Owners Corporation Network wrote to then Planning Minister, now Chief Minister Andrew Barr more than a decade ago requesting a judicial inquiry into the millions of dollars worth of defects unit owners had been lumped with.
The network urged Mr Barr to consider imposing serious penalties on builders and developers to deter them from constructing more dodgy buildings.
Reforming Canberra's residential construction sector is a labyrinthine task. But the problem only grows more complex the longer we kick the can down the road.
Parliamentary inquiries in 2010 and 2016 laid bare the failings of the sector.
But some recommendations of the 2010 report remain incomplete after all these years.
Even the re-introduction of public certifiers will be limited mostly to largescale developments. This isn't good enough.
Reforming Canberra's residential construction sector is a labyrinthine task. If it were easy, it would have been solved by now.
But the problem only grows more complex the longer we kick the can down the road.
More than 26,000 apartments have been built across Canberra over the last 20 years.
The number of high rise buildings under construction has increased more than 150 per cent in last 15 years.
A CFMEU-commissioned report last year estimated more than $260 million would be needed to fix structural and safety defects in apartment buildings across Canberra.
Just within the last fortnight, new Sustainable Building and Construction Minister Rebecca Vassarotti rejected the need for an independent building commissioner to oversee Canberra's construction industry.
While Ms Vassarotti argued the role would unnecessarily overlap with the Construction Occupations Registrar, we suspect the Kelkiah residents - unsure if they can remain in their homes - may see it a bit differently.