23 August 2018 The Fifth State: On why ethics is the thing we most need and is sadly in short supply

23 August 2018 by Jason Quinn
This article starts by reminding us of the finance industries poor ethical practices of charging dead people fees but soon moves on to the similarly un-ethical dilemmas in how we choose to build buildings. Sometime I’m in shock when someone asks why we need to predict and understand how buildings perform before they are built; especially when you hear experts in the industry declare: “Most homes are not fit for human habitation”.
“It is like the sword of Damocles. We know that substandard dwellings exist both in ageing building stock and in new buildings being handed over to buyers carrying huge mortages. We know that some projects do not meet building code requirements because of a lack of oversight and enforcement. But we also know that greater enforcement and oversight would fuel the usual arguments about red tape and regulation making homes less affordable.”
“Despite abundant evidence that apartments expanses of unshaded glazing, no back-up power systems and poor thermal performance is akin to developing human-broiling or freeze room death traps, recent inquiries around two massive apartment projects in Western Sydney by The Fifth Estate found that code minimum is as far as they are going.”
“if a developer, architect, engineer or builder is party to delivering an apartment block in an area where extreme heat is an established risk, merely defaulting to code minimum is not good enough. … If the risks are foreseen, it is incumbent on everyone not to “transfer the risk to buyers”. Even “enlightened self-interest” should be telling the property industry this much.”

“Energy Efficiency Council Policy Advisor Rob Murray-Leach sums it up when he says there is a “cultural issue” in Australia that accepts homes, particularly rental ones, will be of extremely poor quality in terms of comfort and performance. “Most homes are not fit for human habitation,” he says. “More than 50 per cent of rentals are totally substandard housing.””

Content by The Fifth State

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