The most common serious building defects in NSW: At Archi-QS, we are qualified building inspectors for Stage 3 and 5 of the Strata Building Bond and Inspection Scheme since its’ inception in July 2018.

Whilst undertaking these projects, we are becoming increasingly familiar with the most common defects found in class 2 residential apartment buildings, as well as the resulting financial and emotional stress that is brought upon homeowners, tenants, property managers, builders, developers and strata managers.

However, bringing these issues to light is the first step in improving the quality and safety of our built environment and increasing consumer confidence, thus the importance of spreading awareness on serious building defects in NSW.

What are the most common serious building defects in NSW?

Waterproofing defects were most common in strata buildings, affecting up to 23% of all the buildings surveyed.

The most typical waterproofing defects in strata buildings are apartment balcony leaks, planter box and roof garden leaks, and efflorescence.

Fire safety systems
Issues related to fire safety systems were found in 14% of the buildings surveyed.

Examples of issues relevant to fire safety systems are obstructions to fire isolated stairs, false fire alarms, interference of fire safety components, and more.

Structure defects were found in up to 9% of the buildings surveyed. Typical structural defects can be rusting, cracked concrete slabs, inadequate flashings (which consequently will result in cavity penetration) and so on.

9% of the buildings surveyed displayed enclosure defects.

At its most basic, a building is a shelter, an enclosure to separate the indoor environment from the natural elements. Hence, these defects refer to the failure of an enclosure/building such as the unwanted transmission of water, moisture, heat, light, air or sounds into the interior.

Key services
5% of the buildings surveyed displayed key services defects. Examples of key services are HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), cold water, wastewater, gas supplies, electricity and so on.

Non-compliant cladding
6% of the buildings surveyed displayed non-compliant cladding.

This particularly refers to buildings being found to have combustible cladding that is non-compliant with recently implemented flammable cladding-related legislation. Examples include the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018 and the State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (Exempt Development – Cladding and Decorative Work) 2018. NSW has also created the NSW Cladding Registration portal which requires owners of certain buildings built with external combustible cladding to register their building with the NSW Government and Project Remediate, aiming to remedy combustible cladding by way of government loans for their replacement.

If you are a developer looking for a building inspector for Stage 3 and 5 of the Strata Building Bond and Inspections Scheme, contact us via:

Phone: (02) 9158 2052


Our website portal: here

All information and statistics to be mentioned in this post were sourced from the September 2021 ‘Research report on serious defects in recently completed strata buildings across New South Wales’ by Construct NSW, the Office of the Building Commissioner and the NSW Strata Community Association.