The construction industry crisis didn't happen overnight. Authorities have been on notice for years to fix the problems that now have the industry itself calling for better regulation.
The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) met last week yet again to discuss implementing the February 2018 Shergold-Weir Report they commissioned in mid-2017. The BMF is responsible for overseeing the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and building regulation across Australia. The BMF announced yesterday it’s going to “strengthen” the ABCB, which will be “expanded to include greater representation and engagement from industry”.
This is the same regulator and the same industry that have been responsible for producing the dud buildings that have been making news across the country: Lacrosse, Opal, Neo200, Mascot Towers, the Gadigal Avenue apartments and countless others that have leaked, cracked and failed, but in less newsworthy ways.
The situation is so bad, and trust in the industry so damaged, that we were treated last week to the unique spectacle of Meriton boss Harry Triguboff, among others, asking the government to do a better job of regulating builders.
What we need now is concerted and urgent action to stop defective buildings being built and a plan to help residential apartment owners rectify their buildings. The highest priority is to replace combustible cladding on tall residential buildings. The Victorian government should be congratulated for going forward with a scheme to achieve this.
Meanwhile, the BMF and the ABCB are still fiddling while Rome burns. They need to get on with it.