Sydney’s apartments struggling against damp and mould

Sydney’s apartments struggling against damp and mould

It isn’t news that Sydney has experienced a run of particularly damp and challenging weather, with many buildings affected by water ingress that has previously never been seen leaking from weather events. Experts believe it is the worst year for mould and leaking across apartments, both old and new, with many buildings already at saturation point, and any further rain could exacerbate existing issues.

The national president of the Strata Community Association, Chris Duggan, whose organisation represents three-quarters of apartments on the east coast of Australia, says a shortage of tradies has aggravated the rain and the damage it has caused. 

“The outcome is owners and tenants who are rightly frustrated. The massive amount of rainfall has exacerbated many maintenance issues to the point of causing long-term damage to the property,” Duggan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

He said some buildings which had never leaked before had succumbed after record rainfall throughout July.

“Newer buildings have a higher likelihood to leak because they have complicated facades. But older buildings are conversely being waterlogged because they are not designed to remove the amount of water that is entering,” he said.

“The problem is nothing is drying out, so mould is an issue … and is a byproduct of the waterlogging and moisture that has penetrated in every building in Sydney, particularly older buildings that are made out of brick.”

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, there have been 13,271 claims lodged related to significant damage from storms and flooding in NSW, with 83% of those relating to property damage.

The Sydney Morning Herald also spoke with Michael Palmer, who is the director of Building Durability, and an expert in rectification and waterproofing works. 

“There are some leaks that are related to wind-driven rain which happen quickly, some need a big volume to topple the castle, and some will build up and leak for an extended period,” Palmer said.

Deregulation of the building industry, particularly in NSW, is often pointed to as the source of many frustrations of apartment owners struggling to rectify new builds.

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