High-rise Must Achieve High Standards

Mayor of the Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi, has responded to The Urban Taskforce’s research paper, ‘Standing Tall’, with a call to improve standards within the construction and approvals process for apartment buildings.

The paper, which compares the carbon footprint per dwelling of both the construction and operation of a range of building types, suggests high-rise apartment buildings are the most sustainable outcome for the environment and the preferred option for people looking to reduce their environmental impact.

“Residents have told us, through our Hills Future consultation process, that they want a range of housing options from homes that provide a good quality of life for families to apartments allowing a range of price points within The Hills,” Mayor Gangemi said. “Council’s own housing diversity provisions create these opportunities, however around multi-level buildings a community must be created and how that might be achieved needs careful consideration.”

Mayor Gangemi said the more urgent issue around apartments was the need to address better independent oversight of the approval and construction processes, and implementation of more appropriate penalties for poorly built buildings.

“It will take more than a favourable carbon footprint to restore a shaken confidence in homeowners to buy a unit off the plan, given the examples we have seen of poor workmanship and dashed hopes and dreams,” he said. “The sector must do better to win back trust and confidence if it’s going to appropriately play its role in Sydney’s future housing provision.”

“Councils have been sidelined from their traditional role in building construction approval and certification and, like unsuspecting homeowners, we are often left with the financial impact of poor outcomes to clean up,” he said.

“Reducing the carbon footprint of homes is highly desirable, but it must be accompanied by a transformation in the independent construction and approvals industry.”

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