Building trust in Class 2 construction

by | Mar 26, 2024 | Livable cities and reforms

The NSW construction industry, particularly in Sydney, has faced significant scrutiny due to various high-profile building defects, notably at Opal Towers, Mascot Towers, and more recently the developments owned by Toplace. These incidents have not only highlighted the systemic issues within the sector but have also underscored the crucial role of building surveyors in ensuring safety, quality, and compliance in building developments. This article draws upon the challenges presented in influencing and mitigating these issues within the context of Australia’s building compliance services. 

The landscape of building defects in Sydney

The Class 2 construction sector has been marred by many building defect problems, causing financial and emotional distress among residents and property owners. The issues range from structural inadequacies to non-compliance with building codes, spotlighting the urgent need for stringent oversight and innovative solutions. The NSW Building Commissioner’s interventions, including the ability to issue stop work orders during construction, allied with the iCIRT rating system for builders, developers and other practitioners, marks a step towards restoring public trust. However, despite these measures and increased regulatory powers, the number of recently reported defects indicates a persistent challenge requiring more proactive measures. 

The role of Building Surveyors

Building surveyors are pivotal in the construction process, offering both preventive and corrective lenses through which potential and existing issues can be identified and addressed. Their role extends beyond certification, encompassing advisory on best practices and innovative construction techniques. Considering recent reforms and the urgent need for quality assurance in Class 2 developments, building surveyors can leverage their position to effect meaningful change in several key areas; 

  • enhanced oversight and early design input: building surveyors can facilitate early detection of potential defects, ensuring that corrective measures are implemented promptly to minimise post-completion rectifications. 
  • educational outreach: by engaging with builders, developers, and other practitioners on the importance of compliance and provision of legislation insights, building surveyors can shift the industry focus towards value creation. 
  • innovation advocacy: building surveyors can advise on the adoption of new materials, technologies, and methodologies that enhance building safety and sustainability. 
  • strengthening the feedback loop: documenting and sharing lessons learned from defect investigations can inform future regulatory updates and industry best practices. 

Addressing housing shortfalls and quality concerns

In the recent March session of the Building Ministers Meeting, it was reported that they see substantial potential to address Australia’s housing supply shortfall by promoting the growth of prefabricated and modular housing. They have directed the Australian Building Codes Board to consult with industry and recommend regulatory improvements that would stimulate Australia’s prefabricated and modular housing industry.  

Their discussion is an attempt to address the high-profile housing shortfalls and the quality of new developments, which are pressing issues that extend beyond the immediate concerns of building defects. Modular construction presents an opportunity to address both these challenges by enabling the rapid deployment of high-quality housing. By promoting and facilitating the use of modular construction methods, building surveyors can contribute significantly to alleviating the housing crisis, making new developments more attractive and reliable for consumers. Moreover, by fostering innovation in construction methods and materials, they support the development of sustainable and efficient housing solutions that meet the growing needs of the country’s population. 

The issues extend beyond building defects, touching on the broader challenge of housing shortfalls and the quality of new developments. The role of building surveyors in influencing these issues is multifaceted. By ensuring compliance and advocating for high-quality construction practices, they can contribute to alleviating the housing crisis by ensuring that new developments are more attractive and reliable for consumers. Furthermore, by promoting innovative construction methods and materials, they can support the development of sustainable and efficient housing solutions that meet the demands of Australia’s growing population. 

The path forward

Building surveyors are well-positioned to address the highlighted challenges through their expertise in building compliance services. By adopting a collaborative, informed, and forward-thinking approach, they can play a central role in transforming the landscape of urban development in Australia. Their efforts can improve the situation for Class 2 developments and contribute to a more sustainable, safe, and vibrant urban future for all Australians. Here are some actions that MBC Group have taken; 

  • leveraging expertise for enhanced compliance to ensure that developments adhere to the highest standards of safety and quality, mitigating the risk of defects and enhancing consumer confidence in new developments 
  • advocating for sustainable construction practices and materials to contribute to the development of eco-friendly buildings, addressing environmental concerns associated with urban development 
  • engaging in policy dialogue by participating in industry forums and advocating for regulatory improvements, to influence the future direction of the construction industry, ensuring that reforms address the root causes of building defects and housing shortfalls 


The construction sector’s challenges require a concerted effort from all industry stakeholders, with building surveyors playing a critical role. By embracing modular construction methods and advocating for regulatory and practice-based reforms, building surveyors can help address the root causes of building defects and housing shortages. Ultimately, their efforts can contribute to the development of safer, more reliable, and sustainable urban housing solutions, ensuring a brighter future for the Australian construction industry. Through a collaborative, informed, and forward-thinking approach, the potential for transformative change is within reach, promising a more sustainable, safe, and efficient construction landscape.   

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