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Sydney tower evacuation ‘symptomatic’ of building failures

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Cracks in Sydney’s Mascot Towers block that led to its evacuation on Friday are “symptomatic” of the troubled building industry, Insurance Council of Australia GM Risk Karl Sullivan says.

Until construction standards are tightened, premiums for professional indemnity (PI) cover will continue to reflect the risks involved, he warns.

Friday’s evacuation of residents came six months after structural issues at Opal Tower in the city’s Olympic Park district forced 3000 people to leave their homes.

Building issues including the cladding crisis are affecting PI lines, according to Mr Sullivan.

“Still wondering why professional indemnity insurance for certifiers, surveyors and building professionals is becoming restrictive and more expensive in Australia?’ he writes in a LinkedIn post.

“All of these events, and the variable jurisdictional responses we have seen, are symptomatic of a deeper set of challenges Australia faces with building life-cycle management, starting with approvals, specification, certification and compliance.”

Mr Sullivan says 24 recommendations made in a report by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir to improve compliance and enforcement will plug building compliance gaps, but the jurisdictions have yet to effectively implement them.