Crackdown On 'Dodgy' Certifiers As Residents Face 'Sleeping On The Streets'
As hundreds of western Sydney residents remain cast out of their homes amid an investigation into a crack found within their apartment building, the state government has issued a warning to any and all dodgy certifiers.
On Christmas Eve, a concrete panel in Sydney Olympic Park's Opal Tower collapsed, triggering an evacuation of the building and the surrounding areas as emergency services feared the 34-storey structure may collapse.
After some residents were allowed back in, everyone was once again told on Thursday to get out so an investigation into what had gone wrong could take place.
Now, there are concerns residents put up in nearby hotels will be again moved on as New Year's bookings threaten their stay.
"If the hotel doesn't allow us to stay there we'll have to find another place," Cheng, an Opal Tower resident, told 10 News First.
"Otherwise we will be sleeping on the streets."
After mounting pressure on the NSW Government to act, the Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean announced on Sunday a crackdown on "cowboy" certifiers in a bid to address the concern about the state's building certification process.
"Developers doing the wrong thing should be on notice," Keen told reporters.
"If they're working with their certifier mates to push shabby buildings through then we will rub them out of the industry."
The government revealed a four-point plan to bring the industry into line.
Under the new strategy, 25 to 30 per cent of certification work will be audited every year in a "strike force style approach".
A new disciplinary policy will also see corrupt certifiers or ones who have negligently signed off on unsafe buildings immediately kicked out of the industry.
Any certifiers who have breached the code of conduct in the previous 12 months will also be unable to work on new strata developments.
For prospective homeowners, more information will be made available about a certifier's disciplinary record and quality of work via a name and shame register.
But Labor -- who recently privatised the industry -- claim the plan is too little too late.
"For eight long years this government has done nothing but let the building industry drift," NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley told reports on Sunday.
"They've let the cowboys come in and now today they're saying they're going to act, not because it's timely, but because they want to save their own bacon."
"Labor's policy proceeds on a very simple premise -- make sure you build it right the first time."
As for the future of the Opal Tower, Cheng said he has been given no certain time frame as to when he might be able to return -- and isn't sure he'll feel safe when he does.
"We, like a lot of us I think, have saved a lot of money during the years for this property but not it turns out its a disaster," he said.
"No one would want to rent out the room or buy it later, because of this reputation."
"If they say its safe, just think of it this way if you're the owner staying there or you're a tenant, you wouldn't feel safe."
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