SYDNEY, AAP – Some 39 per cent of nearly 500 strata buildings surveyed in NSW had serious defects but only 15 per cent were reported to Fair Trading.

A study by NSW Building Commissioner and Strata Community Australia found cost and lack of awareness were the main barriers to under-reporting.

Two of the most commonly reported defects were waterproofing and fire safety.

Building Commissioner David Chandler said the NSW government was trying to restore consumer confidence in the residential building industry.

“If you’re living in a recently completed apartment with serious defects, the regulator has a range of new tools to ensure developers and builders come back to get them fixed,” Mr Chandler said in a statement on Wednesday.


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“Reporting defects should be first thing that consumers do.

“Too often we’re seeing owners’ corporations dealing with the issues themselves by engaging legal and advisory services that cost huge sums of money, or worse, trying to sell the problem on to the next buyer without the appropriate disclosures.”

Fair Trading has hired new staff and introduced more compliance checks to better tackle building issues and complaints, he said.

There are more than 83,000 strata schemes in NSW providing housing to 1.2 million people or about 15 per cent of the population.

Strata Community Australia NSW president Chris Duggan said strata communities were also changing for the better.

“We firmly believe that strata communities are currently undergoing a transformation of standards as they increasingly champion the rights of residents,” he said.

“These changes will better serve NSW communities along with our Professional Standards Scheme that demands a strong duty of care by strata managers.”