This story was first published on December 1, 2001
The unfortunate events at Regis Towers, one of Sydney's newest and biggest apartment blocks started to unfold in January when Beryl Hardy Nisbett decided to sell. Things might have remained hidden for longer if the couple who wanted to buy her apartment hadn't insisted on bringing along a building inspector. The inspector produced a 16-page report which concluded that "reasonable habitation of the unit would be extremely difficult".
Moreover the inspector, Dominic Ogburn, determined that the problems in the Meriton development were unlikely to be isolated. There were, after all, 554 other residential units in the three Castlereagh Street, Pitt Street and Campbell Street buildings that make up the block.
Hardy Nisbett lost her sale but elements of the report found their way to Sydney City Council, which agreed to inspect a sample of 15 units.
The council inspectors found 14 to be in breach of the Building Code of Australia and notices under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act began to rain down on the owners' corporation.