In this edition, we provide a wrap-up of the latest residential property news in NSW.

Our fortnightly editorials – giving an in-depth analysis of property industry news and key cases – will commence again in February.

In the media

ASIC encourages fair and effective insurance claims handling for bushfire victims
Australia's corporate regulator is urging insurers and other key stakeholders to handle claims efficiently and fairly, to help those impacted by the devastating fires rebuild their lives (10 January 2020). More...

Immediate financial support for bushfire affected communities
The Australian Government will provide an initial and immediate base payment of $1 million to 42 of the most severely bushfire impacted councils in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to help quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience (09 January 2020). More...

Construction index hits lowest since 2013
December heralded the 16th consecutive month of contraction for the Australian Industry Group and HIA Performance of Construction Index. Australia's construction sector ended 2019 on a low note with deteriorating activity, new orders and supplier deliveries pushing a key industry index to its lowest mark since May 2013 (10 January 2020). More...

High Density Drives Surge in New Home Approvals
Building approvals for November 2019 jumped by more than 10% with increases in apartment approvals driving the surge (08 January 2020). More...

House prices finish 2019 on a high, as Sydney and Melbourne lead gains nationally
House prices in most Australian cities finish 2019 on a high, with national average dwelling prices lifting 1.1 per cent during December and by 2.3 per cent over the year, according to CoreLogic (02 January 2020). More...

MBA: Solid Lending Figures Indicate Brightening Housing Outlook for 2020
The number of owner occupier loans relating to new homes reached a 14-month high during October (17 December 2019). More...

Calls for national reinsurance scheme fall on deaf ears
The Building Ministers' Forum concluded on Friday with an agreement to follow up on the professional indemnity insurance crisis but did not take up the Victorian Government's call for a national reinsurance scheme (16 December 2019). More...

$1 billion to rebuild bushfire impacted communities in NSW
The NSW Government will provide $1 billion over the next two years to rebuild communities affected by the bushfires. The additional funding will prioritise the repair and rebuilding of vital infrastructure, such as roads, rail-lines, bridges, schools, health facilities and communications facilities, which have been damaged or destroyed by bushfires. (09 January 2020). More...

New South Wales isn't building nearly enough houses for the future
In order to reach the new housing target of 36,000 housing completions each year, over 60,000 approvals per year are needed to meet the GSC target. Over the past 12 months, only 50,000 approvals have been granted and the release consolidates that downward trend (09 January 2020). More...

Homeowners in 'disbelief' as drought drives rise in cracked buildings
The drought is causing a growing number of buildings across the Hunter to crack, making busy work for tradespeople and untold expenses for homeowners (06 January 2020). More...

Opal Tower builder speaks out as residents return home in time for Christmas
It was last Christmas Eve that the "nightmare" began for Opal Tower residents. The building was evacuated and they were forced them into temporary accommodation. This Christmas they are back home, but they say their "backs are being scraped" as their battle for compensation looms (19 December 2019). More...


Building Ministers Forum
The Building Ministers Forum was held in Canberra on 13 December 2019. Discussion included:

  • Building Confidence Report National Framework; Coordinated response to Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Aluminium Composite Panels - technical specification proposed; Security of Payment - to apply model parameters; Digital Twins - digital solutions to improve compliance in the building and construction sector; Industry qualifications BMF Communique

Australia Bureau of Statistics
08/01/2020 Building Approvals, Australia, Nov 2019 (cat no. 8731.0)

Practice and courts

RICS Building Confidence Conference 2020
The Building Confidence Conference is RICS' flagship event that puts a spotlight on the role of Chartered Surveyors, engineers, architects and contractors in the built environment, will be held in Sydney, Australia. More...

ABCB: Registration is open for the 2020 NCC Seminars!
Next March and April the ABCB will be presenting in a capital city near you (2020). More...

NABERSReminder: Auditors, Supervisors, and Trainers Panel Announced
Congratulations to the new Panel Selection for NABERS Auditors, Supervisors, and Trainers, for October 2019-October 2022. More...


Akbarian v Stibilj [2020] NSWCATAP 1
– home building – claim for variations on quantum meruit basis – leave ... and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2014 (NSW) Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) ... The appeal is dismissed. Catchwords: APPEAL – home building – claim for variations on quantum meruit basis – leave ... and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2014 (NSW) Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) Cases Cited: Beale v Government Insurance ... and therefore within the time required by the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (HB Act) in s 48K(8)

Al-Shinawa v NSW Fair Trading, Department of Customer Service [2020] NSWCATOD 1
REVIEW – Home Building – Application for contractor licence – general building ... Decisions Review Act 1997 Home Building Act 1989 ... work. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – Home Building – Application for contractor licence – general building ... Cited: Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 Home Building Act 1989 Cases Cited: Briggs v Commissioner for Fair ... relevant law governing this application? The Home Building Act 1989 regulates the residential building industry ... full-time building experience stipulated in the Home Building Act, the director of the company, Mr Touma, had refused

Hummingbird Homes v Light Consultants & Ors [2019] SADC 178
Contracts - Building, Engineering And Related Contracts - Performance Of Work - Remedies For Breach Of Contract - Particular Cases
Torts - Negligence - Essentials Of Action For Negligence - Duty Of Care - Reasonable Foreseeability Of Damage - Particular Cases
Torts - Negligence - Contributory Negligence - Particular Cases
Torts - Negligence - Apportionment Of Responsibility And Damages - Apportionment In Particular Situations And Cases

Khoury v NSW Fair Trading, Department of Customer Service [2019] NSWCATOD 194
LICENSING – supervisor certificate – electrical work – whether fit and proper – reformed applicant – Home Building Act – whether compliance with tribunal orders – offence of dishonesty within past ten years – applicant disqualified from holding authority unless offence to be ignored due to time passed – disclosure on application form.

Leclere v Commissioner for Fair Trading [2020] NSWCATAD 15
– decision to grant contractor licence under Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) – whether applicant is fit and proper ... (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW) Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) ... Act 1989 (NSW) Home Building Regulation 2014 (NSW) ... – decision to grant contractor licence under Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) – whether applicant is fit and proper ... (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 (NSW) Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) ... Act 1989 (NSW) Home Building Regulation 2014 (NSW) Cases Cited: Australian Broadcasting ... a contractor licence. Statutory framework The Home Building Act 1989 (the Act)

Lilli v Building Professionals Board [2019] NSWCATOD 193
INTERLOCUTORY ORDER – application for stay

Morrison v Moss & Anor [2019] NSWDC 746
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – construction works for residential dwelling – whether practical completion arose through owner's entry into possession – whether Builders in breach of implied statutory warranties – whether works defective or incomplete – whether works 'practically complete' – whether Builders should be ordered to rectify defects.
CONTRACT – existence of implied term as to date for completion of works – whether implied term breached – whether contract validly terminated – whether terminating party entitled to exercise express right to terminate if it is itself in breach.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – referral of issue of costs of rectification of defective works to referee.

Nutek Constructions Pty Ltd [ACN 603 941 564] v; Slotwinski; Slotwinski v Nutek Constructions Pty Ltd; [ACN 603 941 564] [2019] NSWCATAP 303
APPEAL – application for costs – applicable principles in appeals from decisions of the Consumer and Commercial Division – costs order made.

Nutek Constructions Pty Ltd v Juno Australia Pty Ltd [2019] NSWCATAP 294
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – administrative tribunals – Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NSW) – duty to give reasons for decision – reasons inadequate – appeal allowed;
COSTS – indemnity costs – no reasons given for award of indemnity costs – no justification for award of costs on the indemnity basis

Parsons v Adams [2019] NSWCATAP 301
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION — liability of contractor for breach of statutory warranty under s 18B of the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) — scope of s 18F defence to a contravention of a statutory warranty under s 18B of the Home Building Act
CONTRACT — ascertaining parties to contract

The Owners Strata Plan No 92888 v Taylor Construction Group Pty Ltd and Frasers Putney Pty Ltd [2019] NSWCATCD 63
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION-Home Building-compliance with applicable codes and standards including Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards-combustible architectural attachments to external walls of high rise building-breach of statutory warranty-materials good and suitable for purpose


Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Order declaring state of emergency in relation to bushfires (2020-1) — published LW 2 January 2020

Proclamations commencing Acts
Better Regulation Legislation Amendment Act 2019 No 23 (2019-623) — published LW 16 December 2019
Schedule 1 amends the following Acts—(a)Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 No 46,(b)Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 No 63,(c)Building Professionals Act 2005 No 115,

Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Asbestos Waste) Act 2018 No 80 (2019-635) — published LW 20 December 2019
For the full text of Bills, and details on the passage of Bills, see Bills.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.