OCN in the Media

OCN in the Media2023-12-20T18:36:38+11:00
18June, 2019

Cracked up: how can apartment buyers guard against a defective purchase?

18 JUNE 2019 With faults and cracks discovered over the weekend in Sydney’s Mascot Towers apartment complex – and similar cracks in Opal Tower six months ago – the spotlight is back on the quality of New South Wales apartment buildings. Research from the University of NSW in 2015 found that 85% of new apartment buildings had defects at completion – mostly with waterproofing and fire detection systems – and [...]

17June, 2019

‘Daunting’ reality for strata lot owners after Mascot Towers evacuation

17 JUNE 2019 Strata lot owners could have to pay for building repairs after the Mascot Towers residents were evacuated. Owners Corporation Network President Gary Petherbridge tells Ross Greenwood the problem is systemic.  “People shouldn’t be buying off the plan anymore, you’re better off to wait 10 years until the property is sorted out.” > Listen to the full interview at 2gb.com Brooke Corte

16June, 2019

Falling through the cracks: Governments slammed over building standards after Mascot evacuation

16 JUNE 2019   Lawyer and strata specialist Stephen Goddard claimed developments could be rushed through by governments eager to profit from stamp duty and other taxes. “Everybody is on a money hit,” Mr Goddard said.  “The government wants to keep the builders building because it gets stamp duty … what happens in the end? People who buy in these apartments get it in the neck.” > Read the full article [...]

16June, 2019

Mascot Towers unit owners to foot bill for repairs prompting calls for better consumer protections

16 JUNE 2019 Stephen Goddard, spokesman for the Owners Corporation Network — an advocacy group for owners in strata schemes — said owners of apartments in the decade-old Mascot Towers development were no longer covered by the statutory warranty period and would now be left with a hefty bill. "Consumers have nowhere to go in these sorts of situations, there's nobody for them to sue, there's nowhere for them to [...]

11June, 2019

NSW off-the-plan buyers to get better protection under new laws this year

11 JUNE 2019 Off-the-plan property buyers will soon be better protected when long-awaited legal changes come into effect this September – and inject much-needed confidence into the Sydney new apartment market, project marketers predict. As a result of changes to conveyancing laws approved by the NSW Parliament late last year and to be introduced in the next quarter, developers will be made more accountable to buyers, and there’ll be more [...]

10June, 2019

Unit rates changes fail to fix fundamental flaw

10 JUNE 2019 Disgruntled ratepayers are amassing a war chest in order to fight future rises, saying changes to the way the charge was calculated in this year's budget do not fix the underlying flaw in the system. Separate rating factors will be introduced for houses and units for the first time, to help smooth out some of the huge rates increases seen by unit owners in the past two [...]

4June, 2019

NSW still without Airbnb rules, one year after plan was announced

04 JUNE 2019 It’s been one year since the NSW government announced it would regulate Airbnb but the state is still without firm rules on short-term letting. In the meantime, it has left Anne Sullivan dealing with apartments in her Strathfield complex that are regularly let through Airbnb and used as party houses. “We’ve had people urinating off balconies, throwing beer bottles off the balcony,” Ms Sullivan said. “We’ve called [...]

1June, 2019

Falling Through the Cracks

01 JUNE 2019 "The ancient Greeks believed opal came from the tears of Zeus.  When opal turns to tears again it will ... bring down Australia's booming high rise apartment business." - From the Opal Tower Sydney Residents Facebook page Three months after the initial evaculation of Opal Tower on Christmase Eve 2018, nearly half of the tower's apartments are still not fit for reoccupation and hundreds of people remain [...]

1June, 2019

Tower Residents in Cry for Certainty

01 JUNE 2019 Five months ago, Shady Eskander's short-term plans involved watching the New Year's Eve fireworks from his new apartment on the top floor of Opal Tower in Sydney's Olympic Park.  Longer term, he and wife Amy hoped to start a family. But plans were up-ended on Christmas Eve when major cracks found on the 10th floor of the $165 million skyscraper forced an emergency evacuation. Hundreds of residents [...]

30May, 2019

Apartments can be great water savers – instead of wasters

20 MAY 2019 Everyone’s talking about water again this week. Sydney Water has announced level one restrictions, high-security water pricing in the Murray region has reached around $175,000 for an Olympic swimming pool’s worth of the stuff and some towns in Barnaby Joyce’s New England electorate face the very real prospect of running out in the coming months. But these issues are literally a drop in the harbour compared to [...]

17April, 2019

Opal Tower Tenancy Chaos Leads to Calls for NSW Help

17 APRIL 2019 Owners, tenants and industry lobby grops are calling for the NSW government to step up efforts to resolve tenancy chaos at Sydney's troubled Opal Tower. The government, which also owns more than 40 apartments in the tower, should take a bigger lead in clarifying tenancy issues both as a stakeholder and as a statutory body instead of relying on Fair Trading NSW and the NSW Civil & [...]

10April, 2019

32 Canberra construction sites shut down

10 APRIL 2019 The ACT government has temporarily shut down 32 construction sites in the past three months, as part of a renewed crackdown on dodgy building work. Access Canberra's building regulators have also inspected 180 sites since the start of the year, as it attempts to shake a widely-held perception that it's failed to respond to the problems plaguing Canberra's construction sector. Release of the figures comes as the [...]

11March, 2019

Advocates accuse NSW government of failing to help apartment owners affected by flammable cladding

12 MARCH 2019 Residents at high risk from potentially deadly flammable cladding are being denied information about what they should do to make their buildings safe, consumer advocates claim. Instead, say apartment residents, they are being threatened with huge fines for doing nothing, while owners in some blocks have been told it could cost more than $50,000 per unit to fix the problem. “This decision is bewildering,” says Phil Gall, [...]

7March, 2019

What’s in the Lacrosse VCAT judgement for owners of defective apartments and policy makers?

7 MARCH 2019 Despite the wailing of design consultants about the implications of the Lacrosse judgement and the Opal Tower engineering report, the importance of a viable Design and Construct constructor in these cases has proved critical to a way forward. The experiences and the processes that apartment owners have endured is unreasonable in a modern construction industry. It is evident that better design management skills, risk management and trustworthy [...]

6March, 2019

Cladding and cracking towers prompt call for royal commission

6 MARCH 2019 The Builders Collective of Australia, has called for a royal commission into the national industry in the wake of combustible cladding on residential towers and cracked concrete in Sydney's newly completed Opal Tower, citing failures within Australia’s residential construction sector.” Stephen Goddard, solicitor and spokesperson for owner advocacy group Owners Corporation Network of Australia, said he backed a royal commission but acknowledged new home buyers had been [...]

6March, 2019

Labor Promises Strata Commissioner to Tackle Defects

6 MARCH 2019 A dedicated Strata Commissioner to protect apartment owners and residents and restore confidence in the strata sector will be introduced by the Labor Party, should it win office at the upcoming state election. “A commissioner solely focussed on strata is long overdue,” says Phil Gall, chair of OCN, which is running a seminar on cladding issues on March 16 in Sydney. “Fair Trading is overloaded with concerns [...]

5March, 2019

NSW state election 2019: Labor to introduce strata commissioner if it is elected

5 MARCH 2019 A dedicated strata commissioner to protect apartment owners and residents against Opal Tower-style building defects will be introduced by Labor should it win office at this month’s state election. The opposition’s better regulation spokeswoman Yasmin Catley confirmed to Domain that Labor plans to create an office to oversee all strata issues, but with particular focus on defects in newly constructed buildings. “A commissioner solely focused on strata [...]

18February, 2019

Strata loophole leaves owners vulnerable even when NCAT is supposed to be on their side

18 FEBRUARY 2020 Every time Jan Newland leaves her apartment in a building on Sydney’s lower north shore, she checks the sky for signs of rain. And if there are darkening clouds, she pushes her lounge room furniture into the middle of the room, rolls up part of her carpet, puts down containers and hopes against hope it doesn’t rain. Newland has had leaks coming through her ceiling since work [...]

13February, 2019

Parliamentary Panic Behind Short-Term Letting U-turn

13 FEBRUARY 2019 Why talk with Alex Greenwich? Becasue his constituency has more high-rise apartments than any other in Australia. So this podcast is the first of two parts in which we discuss the strata issues of the day – Airbnb, cladding, defects … and pets. The highlight of the chat, for me, was his description of how a last-minute push by the Owners Corporation Network (and a few like-minded [...]

6February, 2019

Election Connection as OCN Faces the Big Issues for 2019

6 FEBRUARY 2019 Last year was huge for the Owners Corporation Network (OCN), the only significant body for apartment owners, run by apartment owners. Most notably, they were hugely instrumental in turning what would have been potentially the worst short-term holiday letting (STHL) laws in the country into what could well be the very best. But it’s a new year and that means new challenges, not least the Opal Tower [...]

3February, 2019

Unit owners punished for driving ACT’s economic growth: strata boss

03 FEBRUARY 2020 Canberra apartment owners are being punished for helping drive the ACT's economic growth as the territory government "robs Peter to pay Paul" by increasing rates, according to the leader of the ACT's peak strata body. Strata Community Association ACT president Chris Miller made those comments after the territory government revealed it had no immediate plans to overhaul its rating system, despite calls from a bipartisan Legislative Assembly [...]

21January, 2019

ACT government ‘ignores’ call to ease rates pressure on unit owners

21 JANUARY 2019 The ACT government has ignored calls to immediately overhaul the city's ratings system to help ease the burden of rising rates on Canberra's apartment owners, owners say, but it will review the system in the next two years. The government has promised to publicly review the system and is considering whether any such changes may be needed in either the 2019-20 or 2020-21 budget, and intends to [...]

9January, 2019

Opal Tower failure reveals “broken system”

9 JANUARY 2019 Sydney’s Opal Tower has dominated headlines after cracks appeared along a concrete wall in the 38-storey Homebush building in Olympic Park on Christmas Eve. Building defects aren’t unusual in Australian construction, but what the crumbling Opal Tower highlights is the vulnerability of builders and subcontractors of defective buildings and the lack of protections for consumers who buy them. "This is a David-and-Goliath fight no owner expects, or [...]

4January, 2019

Baptism of Fire: Opal Tower’s Challenge For Newly Formed Owners Corporation

04 JANUARY 2019 Residents of Opal Tower heard the unwelcome news on Friday that the NSW government-appointed engineers needed more time before they would approve any repair – and hence a return – to the building. In a statement referring "design and construction issues that require further investigation", engineers Mark Hoffman and John Carter said it could take another week before they were in a position to say more. It's [...]


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