Mascot builder 'didn't know how to read a construction drawing', commissioner says
David Chandler said he visited Mascot Towers on Thursday and had not seen many buildings as “poorly built”. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)
The newly appointed NSW building commissioner has slammed the company behind Sydney’s trouble Mascot Towers, but he said the industry did not need further regulation at this time.
- The new building commissioner was facing an inquiry into the building industry set up in the aftermath of the Mascot Towers and Opal Tower incidents
- He said Mascot Towers was poorly designed
- One of his plans to combat the industry crisis is to improve education around core skills
Amid frank and often heated exchanges, David Chandler told a parliamentary inquiry into the building industry that he had visited Mascot Towers, in Zetland, on Thursday and had not seen many buildings as “poorly built” as the troubled unit block.
In his opinion, he said, the engineering design was “poor”.
“I’ve built a lot of buildings, and I have to say when I walked across that job yesterday I don’t think I’ve seen many buildings as poorly built as that,” he said.
The 132-unit Mascot Towers was evacuated in June because of structural faults.
The commissioner, who has only been in the job three days, told the inquiry he was certain the Mascot Towers builder did not know how to read construction plans, which could have been “flawed” from the outset.
“I’m quite certain that the builder didn’t know how to read any construction plans, because the faults that are in that building are simply someone who didn’t pay any attention to them,” he said.
“The control joints and cracking and stuff that’s in there is fixable, but it’s going to take a lot of work to fix.
“So there’s a builder there that was operating that really shouldn’t have been in the space doing it, they didn’t have the capability, [and] they certainly didn’t know how to read a construction drawing.”
Commissioner to work with TAFE to improve core skills
Mr Chandler was speaking at the inquiry into the Regulation of Building Standards, Building Quality and Building Disputes at NSW Parliament on Friday.
The inquiry, set up last month after major faults appeared in residential buildings, including Mascot Towers and Opal Tower, is investigating the regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes.
Residents of Mascot Towers were evacuated on Friday June 14, 2019, after cracks appeared in the building’s beams. (AAP: Bianca de Marchi)
He told the committee that he didn’t believe the industry needed more regulation but he would assess the current enforcement of licensing.
He also said he planned to work with TAFE colleges and private educators to improve skills by focussing on core elements of construction.
Mr Chandler, who has four decades of industry experience, said he would return to Mascot Towers next week as he continued to asses the scale of the situation and the key issues that needed to be fixed.
“I’m not going to walk away from the fact that this is a terrible situation. These people shouldn’t be in it and I empathise with these people.
“I am embarrassed, frankly, that the industry has allowed a product like Mascot Towers to turn up on the marketplace.”