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As building defects continue to plague strata apartment owners and building managers, the financial impact is clear.
Property owners have been forced from their homes and, according to some media reports, new purchasers have not only lost hefty deposits but are also unable to obtain new loans.
While the monetary loss has been devastating for strata owners, there’s another aspect that’s received less attention, but it is vitally important.
As a recent case in Melbourne demonstrates, building defects due to poor strata waterproofing may have direct health impacts.
In June this year, Domain reported on the case of Melbourne apartment owner Zoe Foster. During a routine COVID test, Ms Foster’s doctor discovered what appeared to be mould spores coating the inside of her nostrils.
Ms Foster immediately linked them to major issues she was having with her near-new apartment, including water running down walls from the floor above and major leaks from her balcony into her living area. On ripping up a corner of her carpet, she discovered extensive black mould.
Ms Foster, who works in commercial property and who described herself as an informed purchaser, has joined others in lobbying for additional protection for apartment buyers. While her strata’s Owners Corporation is currently pursuing the builder for repair costs, she is now reliant on a puffer for asthma, the likely result of the extensive mould.
Mould is a form of fungi that thrives in damp and poorly ventilated areas and is commonly found on building materials, including wood and plaster, and on household items such as carpet, clothes and curtains.
Mould spreads through spores and, according to the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel, it may lead to health issues including respiratory infections, nasal congestion and wheezing. It can worsen asthma and allergies and particularly affect those with weakened immune systems.
Strata managers are responsible for all facilities management, including apartment waterproofing. As the representative of your strata committee, it is your responsibility to maintain the condition of your strata block – and the health and safety of every tenant.
Every waterproofing issue starts with a tiny leak or crack. If left untreated, leaks lead directly to issues including concrete spalling and concrete cancer and to major mould.
The problems that have become all too common in new strata projects are avoidable. As we’ve reported previously, the NSW Government has introduced commercial building reforms to target unprofessional builders and waterproofers whose shoddy workmanship is a primary culprit in building defects.
Selecting a licenced and skilled waterproofing contractor is the best way to ensure you have a waterproofing solution that is suitable for your strata apartment – and designed to last. A strata waterproofing loan is one way to repair leaks without upfront costs. And we always recommend waterproofing maintenance.
At Danrae Group, we provide end-to-end project management and comprehensive leak detection, solution design, waterproofing and remediation from our skilled in-house team of waterproofing contractors and trades professionals.
Our team tailors every solution design to the type and location of the property, we triple test every waterproofing installation and we provide a full waterproofing guarantee. We also offer preventative maintenance plans to preserve your waterproofing solution and the integrity and value of your property.
Unit 3/1-3 Whyalla Place
Prestons NSW 2170
Level 1, 1 Burelli Street,
Wollongong NSW 2500