Page 257 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 February 2016

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MR GENTLEMAN: Yes, that is the process.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what is the government’s liability for shoddy buildings given that certificates of occupancy were issued by ACTPLA?

MR GENTLEMAN: The plans are put into ACTPLA—they particularly study how those plans fit in with national guidelines and ACT regulations as well—and then of course a certificate of occupation is granted if all of those plans and guidelines fit within the processes for understanding whether that particular development will fit into the program. So it is important, of course, that they look at not only the plans for the building but also the construction materials for the building. Indeed, we have had some very long conversations at the building ministers conference nationally to look at the appropriate use of materials in buildings across the territory and nationally as well. We will be opening up that conversation again next week when we go to the next building ministers conference.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, do representatives of ACTPLA visit all buildings to check that the plans submitted comply with what has actually been built before a certificate of occupancy is issued?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Coe for his question. It usually certifies that they look at those particular applications for the construction of the building in relation to the plans that have been submitted, and they are the ones that sign off.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, are you aware of any buildings in Canberra that have been issued certificates of occupancy which are at risk of requiring residents to permanently vacate them due to serious structural issues?

MR GENTLEMAN: I have not been provided with a briefing on buildings where occupants have been asked to vacate but I will seek further advice from the directorate. It is a very important question. I think it is important that we look at where buildings across the territory comply with the correct standards and regulations. We know that there are particular concerns with water ingress into buildings, particularly where balconies are built on the same level as the living area.

We know that the architectural design is quite good where you see that you can walk from your living area directly out to the balcony. Indeed, they put waterproofing membranes in the process to ensure that water does not enter into the property. But unfortunately sometimes during the construction we have seen where other tradespeople have come in and perhaps modified those membranes or drilled through them and we have seen water ingress. It is an important question. I will ask the directorate for further advice.

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