Project Intervene

Using the expertise of the Building Commissioner to negotiate and mediate with developers on defects.

The NSW Government’s crackdown on building standards includes a short, sharp blitz to pressure developers to take ownership of defects in existing buildings rather than drag issues out in legal disputes. 

Known as Project Intervene, powers aimed at lifting standards in new buildings are also being used for legacy issues in buildings up to 10 years old. 

In one case study recently released by the Office of the Building Commissioner, owners of a building with serious balcony problems spent $2 million in legal fees before any work was done to fix the problem. Meantime residents could not use their balconies for more than four years. 

Who can register?

Buildings of more than three stories and up to 10 years old with serious defects to common property can register with the Office of Fair Trading, who have the power to compel developers and builders to act. 

Project Intervene uses powers under the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act which deals with buildings up to 10 years old with serious defects in the common property. The Home Building Act also provides statutory warranty periods for minor (2 years) and major defects (6 years) but there are some differences in definitions. 

The aim is to reach agreement with a developer or builder on a remediation plan and avoid costly legal processes, while ensuring the work is completed to the correct standard within an agreed deadline. Once signed off, these agreements are legally binding. 

An extension to the project

Registration for Project Intervene opened in November 2022 and was recently extended until 30 November 2023 with 33 buildings already in the Department’s sights. Developers that have achieved an iCIRT rating also have the option of registering with the scheme to negotiate a defect rectification pathway without incurring legal costs. 

While it’s good to know these powers are available, strata owners and committees need to be proactive in pursuing developers and builders over defects before the six-year statutory warranty period expires. Your Strata Plus manager can advise on the best strategy for pursuing any claim against your developer or builder. 

You can read more about Project Intervene at NSW Fair Trading

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