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01 October 2019

Structurally sound or systematically flawed? Restoring faith in Victoria’s building regulations

You would have to be living under a rock to not have seen, read or heard about the controversy surrounding the structural safety of some newly developed apartment buildings, particularly in NSW. It is time to set the record straight as it is an unfair generalisation to suggest all regions and apartments are regulated the same way. The three Cs – cracking, creaking and cladding – have been in the spotlight since the London Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017.

While I absolutely do not want to undermine the seriousness of these incidents, in particular Grenfell Tower which was tragic in its circumstances and a gross oversight by many, I think it’s important to set the facts straight about the stringent regulatory framework that operates to protect home owners and residents. We as Victorians should feel confident that the causes of structural issues that might arise in other jurisdictions are weeded out by stringent review and certification requirements prescribed by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), and also in Queensland where the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act (QBCCA) has adopted very strict procedures during both the design and construction phases, and post-completion.

In my opinion and many industry experts, the regimes in Queensland and Victoria are very robust and lead the way. Photo: Greg Briggs

When it comes to building compliance and safety, each state has its own regulatory system. In my opinion and many industry experts, the regimes in Queensland and Victoria are very robust and lead the way, with NSW unfortunately well and truly lagging behind. This is not only because of a lacklustre framework in NSW but more broadly due to a flawed system and culture derived from a few fundamentally different processes to Victoria and Queensland. The first and most critical is that in NSW there is no requirement for mandatory certification of structural design by an independent structural engineer (observed in both Queensland and Victoria), meaning technically a structure could be approved and built without any mandatory independent checks before construction. By design (pardon the pun), NSW’s system is inherently inadequate.

Such an integral industry to our economy warrants a well-regulated system across the board. Photo: iStock

Among other critical checks and balances, both these jurisdictions require dual certification of design – meaning potential human error is carefully checked for and the design certified by two experts (designer and reviewer) – which also means two sets of professional indemnity insurance policies on the line as opposed to just one in NSW. Another issue which industry experts believe has created a bad culture design and construction process is NSW design competitions. In Victoria one lead architect, structural engineer, building surveyor and all consultants are typically employed at the inception of the project and are part of the project from start to completion. This ensures there is a culture of absolute ownership and responsibility from all involved to ensure a great and safe product is delivered.

For those not familiar with the design competition-style of development, the City of Sydney encourages architectural design competitions for new applications by offering larger floor-space ratio (FSR) for the process. This means that during the critical phase of design development, consultants are fighting to win a job in a high pressure environment on time and cost, with limited security of tenure and, thereby, accountability.

In my view, the NSW design regulations as they currently stand need serious review and updating and shouldn’t spoil the bunch. The new apartment market is an incredibly important part of our future, growth and liveability particularly here in Victoria, so I reiterate that it’s incredibly important that we look to the facts and do not get confused by what sells papers or is an easy doom-and-gloom TV expose. Let’s not forget that the property industry now employs more than 1.4 million Australians – more than any other sector in the economy and contributes $90 billion annually in combined national and state revenue. Such an integral industry to our economy warrants a well-regulated system across the board, which supports best practice and excellence as we create homes for our beautiful city.

A $40m penthouse will feature in Tim Gurner’s Novotel redevelopment.

Not only do I see the checks and balances in Victoria as a thorough process, proactive measures like the commissioning of the Shergold-Wier Report (February 2019) and the proposed adoption strategy of these various key outtakes lend even more confidence that our regulators are leading the way to identify areas for improvement well before they become issues.

The lessons learnt have been great and imperative. Many states are going to great lengths to make important changes, which is reassuring and necessary given the stakes are high and consequences dire. Generally speaking, and in my experience, design consultants and top-tier builders are reputable, meticulous and competent professionals who take pride in their work and not only ensure all rules, regulations and codes are followed at all times, they go well above and beyond to ensure the buildings stand the test of time. However, as with any industry, there will always be a handful of cowboys who don’t follow the rules so buyers need to ensure they do their homework before purchasing, and similarly regulators need to continue to be vigilant.

Australia and Melbourne in particular are growing fast and we need new apartments to support the population. We must re-establish confidence in the market and reassure buyers of the quality of Melbourne’s apartments if we want to build a great city that is supported by infrastructure and forward planning, not one reliant on urban sprawl.

Source: https://www.domain.com.au/news/structurally-sound-or-systematically-flawed-restoring-faith-in-victorias-building-regulations-888921/

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GURNER™ Website Terms and Conditions

Welcome to www.gurner.com.au the Site. The Site is owned and operated by GPG Management Pty Ltd ATF the GPG Management Trust ABN 64 754 223 432.

The use of this website is subject to the following Terms and Conditions, the Privacy Policy and any additional terms and conditions and notices displayed by us on this website from time to time Terms of Use In the Terms of Use, "you" means the person accessing or using this website or the services provided through or in connection with this website.

1. Acceptance

These Terms of Use govern your access to and use of the Site. By browsing, accessing or using the Site or by using any facilities or services made available through it or by transacting through or on it, you acknowledge and warrant that you have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms of Use and any additional terms and conditions notified to you from time to time. These Terms of Use form a legally binding agreement between Gurner and you. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, you must immediately exit and not access or use the Site.

2. Disclaimer of warranties and representations

2.1 Any prices, images, drawings, floor plans, dimensions, layout, design features, materials and fittings, views, areas, photographs and artist's impressions displayed on the Site are for presentation purposes and indicative only.  They should not be relied upon as an accurate representation of the final product. These may only be used as a guide only and are subject to change. Interested parties are responsible for assessing the relevant and accuracy of the content on the Site and should make their own enquiries and seek independent advice before acting.  The content on the Site is not an offer to sell nor does it form part of any contract of sale.

2.2 Prices, specifications and details for a particular home and/or package will be set out in the specific building contract.

2.3 We will endeavour to provide accurate and up-to-date information on this Site but, except as required by law, we give no express or implied warranties or guarantees, and make no representations, in relation to this Site.  In particular, while care has been taken in creating this Site, Gurner does not warrant or represent that:

2.3.1 the information or any material provided on this website is accurate, complete, up to date or suitable for any purpose;

2.3.2 the Site itself is free from any computer viruses or other defects; or

2.3.3 your access to this Site will be continuous or uninterrupted.

2.4 You are responsible for making your own assessment of the information available on or through the Site, and you should verify all relevant representations, statements and information before you rely on that information.

3. Expression of interest

You may request further information about particular property development or properties at this Site. Your expression of interest is not binding on you or us and does not form the basis of any contractual or other legal rights.

4. Acceptance of risk and release from liability

4.1 You are wholly responsible for your participation on the Site and you use the Site at your own risk.  You acknowledge that we are not responsible for, and accept no liability in relation to, your use of the Site or your conduct in connection with the Site in any circumstance.

4.2 You agree to indemnify us for any loss, damage, cost or expense that we may suffer or incur as a result of or in connection with your use of or conduct in connection with the Site, including any breach by you of these Terms of Use.

4.3 To the maximum extent permitted by law, we exclude all implied representations and warranties which might apply in relation to your use of the Site. You may have rights under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010(Cth) in respect of any goods or services supplied to you under these Terms of Use.  If so, our liability to you is limited to, at our election:

4.3.1 in the case of goods supplied to you by us, replacement of the goods or supply of equivalent goods, repairing the goods, paying the cost of replacing the goods or of acquiring equivalent goods or paying the cost of having the goods repaired; or

4.3.2 in the case of services supplied or offered by us, the supply of the services again or paying the cost of having the services supplied again.

4.4 In no circumstances will we be liable for any indirect, punitive or consequential loss or damages, loss of income, profits, goodwill, data, contracts, or use of money, or loss or damages arising from or in any way connected to business interruption of any type, whether in tort, contract or otherwise.

5. Prohibited activities

5.1 When using this website, you must not:

5.1.1 infringe any intellectual property right (including copyright, database right or trade mark right) of any person or be in breach of any legal duty owed to any person, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence

5.1.2 reproduce any Site Content (as defined below) without our express written permission, which we may grant or withhold at our absolute discretion;

5.1.3 seek reimbursement from any other party for access to the Site or on-sell any information obtained from the Site;

5.1.4 engage in any conduct which is likely to mislead or deceive us or any other person, impersonate any other person while using the Site, conduct yourself in an offensive manner while using the Site, or use the Site for any illegal, immoral or harmful purpose;

5.1.5 submit, post, upload, email or otherwise send or transmit to the Site, or any user of the Site, anything that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, harm, damage, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or equipment linked directly or indirectly to the Site; or

5.1.6 interfere with the Site or the servers or networks underlying or connected to the Site or violate any of the procedures, policies or regulations of the Site or any networks connected to the Site.

6. Security

We use our reasonable endeavors to minimise viruses and bugs from infiltrating the Site, however, due to the nature of the internet, the Site may be affected by viruses or bugs from time to time. You must take your own precautions to ensure that the
process which you employ for accessing the Site does not expose you to the risk of viruses, malicious computer code or other forms of interference which may damage your own computer system. We do not accept responsibility for any interference or damage
to your own computer system which arises in connection with your use of the Site or any linked web site.

7. Intellectual Property

7.1 The entire contents and design subsisting in, relating to or arising out of the Site and available through or in connection with the Site including but not limited to copyright, logos, trade marks, designs, text, graphics, images, information, applications and other files, and their selection and arrangement (the Site Content) are the intellectual property of us, our content providers or our licensors,
with all rights reserved.

7.2 You must not do anything, or omit to do anything, which may infringe our intellectual property rights, except with our express written permission. This includes reproducing any part of the Site or Site Content.

8. Links to other websites

The Site may contain links to third party sites.  Access to any other internet site linked to the Site is at your own risk and we accept no responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information, data, opinions, advice or statements
made in any third party sites.  Linked websites are responsible for their own terms and conditions of use.

9. Applicable law

9.1 The content, operation and interpretation of this website and the Terms of Use will be governed by the laws of Victoria, Australia. You agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of Victoria in the event of a dispute arising out of, or in connection with, this website.

9.2 This Site may be accessed throughout Australia and overseas. Gurner makes no representation that the content provided by the website complies with the laws (including intellectual property laws) of any country outside Australia. If you access the website from outside Australia, you do so at your own risk and are responsible for ensuring that your access to this website is not illegal or prohibited by laws which apply to you.

10. Contacting us

If you have any questions about our Terms of Use or any queries or concerns about this website, please email us at info@gurner.com.au. Alternatively, you can call us on 03 9654 6222 or contact us by post at Level 1, 168 Williams Road, Prahran, Victoria, 3181.

11. Changes to Terms of Use

We may change these Terms of Use at any time. If we do so, an amended version will be posted on the Site. Your continued use of the Site after any changes are made to the Terms of Use will be deemed to constitute your acceptance of those
changes. If you object to any changes, your only remedy is to discontinue your use of the Site. You are responsible for keeping up to date of any changes by regularly reviewing these Terms of Use.

GURNER™ Privacy Policy

Publication Date: 23 July 2014

Status: Current

1. Background

1.1 General

GPG Management Pty Ltd ATF the GPG Management Trust ABN 64 754 223 432 (Gurner, we, us, our) is a property development company based in Melbourne, Australia.  We are committed to protecting your privacy, in accordance with applicable Australian privacy laws.

This Policy is designed to give you a greater understanding of how we collect, use, disclose and otherwise handle personal information.

A copy of this Privacy Policy is available on our website at www.gurner.com.au or you can request a copy by contacting out Privacy Officer (details under heading 11 below).

1.2 What is personal information?

Personal information means information or an opinion, whether true or not and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual who is identified or reasonably identifiable.

1.3 Our obligations

We are required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act).  The APPs regulate the manner in which personal information is handled throughout its
life cycle, from collection to use and disclosure, security, accessibility and disposal.

We are also required to comply with more specific privacy legislation in some circumstances, such as:

  • applicable State and Territory health privacy legislation (including the Victorian Health Records Act ) when we collect and handle health information in the relevant jurisdiction; and
  • the Spam Act and the Do Not Call Register Act.

1.4 Employee records

We are generally exempt from the Privacy Act when we collect and handle employee records and this Privacy Policy does not apply to that information. However, where State or Territory health privacy legislation applies, we are still required to protect
the privacy of employee health information.This Privacy Policy will apply in those circumstances.

2. What we collect

2.1 General

The type of personal information that we collect about you depends on the type of dealings you have with us. For example, if you:

are a purchaser or prospective purchaser of a property – we will collect your name, age, address, contact details, details of the property that you are interested in or have agreed to purchase (such as the location and size of the
property and the design and specifications of the apartment), what prompted you to inspect the project, how you heard about us, details of price points and apartment types you are interested in (eg one bedroom or two bedroom) and whether you are an
owner-occupier or investor. If you are purchasing from us, we will also collect a copy of your passport or driver's licence (to verify your identity), confirm whether you are an Australian resident and record the terms of your contract (including
price), payment details, information relating to your financing arrangements (such as your bank details and how much money you are borrowing) and contact details for your authorised representatives (such as your lawyer)

  • are a supplier to us - we will collect your name and contact details, details about the goods or services you supply and payment details
  • send us an enquiry, complete an enquiry form or provide us with feedback, we may collect your name, contact details, details of your enquiry or feedback and information about our response
  • fill in a contact form at one of our display suites – we will collect your name, age, address, contact details, details of the properties you are interested in (including price ranges), what prompted you to inspect the project, whether
    you are an owner occupier or investor and how your heard about us or the relevant property development
  • participate in market research conducted by us or on our behalf – we will collect your name, address, contact details and details of your responses to the research questions you answer
  • ask us to send you information about our products and services - we will collect your name, address, contact details, details of the properties you are interested in and how you heard about us or the relevant property development
  • apply for a job with us, we will collect the information you include in your job application, including your cover letter, resume, contact details and referee reports

2.2 Sensitive information

Sensitive information is a subset of personal information that is generally afforded a higher level of privacy protection, such as health information. We only collect sensitive information where it is reasonably necessary for our functions or
activities and either:

  • the individual has consented; or
  • we are required or authorised by or under law to do so.

For example, if you purchase a property from us, we will collect information about your residency status, which may indicate your racial or ethnic origin.

2.3 Collection of information other than personal information through our website

When you visit our website, some of the information that is collected about your visit is not personal information, as it does not reveal your identity.

Site visit information

For example, we record your server address, the date and time of your visit, the pages you visited, any documents you downloaded, the previous site you visited and the type of device, browser and operating system you used.

We use and disclose this information in anonymous, aggregated form only, for purposes including statistical analysis and to assist us to improve the functionality and usability of our website. You are not individually identified, however we reserve
the right to use or disclose this information to try to locate an individual where we reasonably believe that the individual may have engaged in any unlawful or inappropriate activity in connection with our website, or where we are otherwise required
or authorised by law to do so.

Cookies

A cookie is a small string of information that a website transfers to your browser for identification purposes. The cookies we use do not identify individual users, although they do identify the user's internet browser.

We use cookies to hold anonymous session information.  This information is used to personalise your current visit to the website, for example to allow the website to remember who you are by keeping server variables linked to your session.

We only use non-persistent cookies.  That is, they are held on your browser's memory only for the duration of your session.

Most internet browsers are set to accept cookies. If you prefer not to receive them, you can adjust your internet browser to reject cookies, or to notify you when they are being used.  There are also software products available that can manage
cookies for you. Rejecting cookies can, however, limit the functionality of our website.

2.4 What if you don't provide us with your personal information?

We will provide individuals with the option of not identifying themselves, or of using a pseudonym, when dealing with us if it is lawful and practicable to do so.  A pseudonym is a name or other descriptor that is different to an individual’s
actual name.

For example, you can access our website and make general phone queries without having to identify yourself.

In some cases however, if you don't provide us with your personal information when requested, we may not be able to provide you with the product or service that you are seeking.  For example, you must identify yourself to a member of our accounts
team in order to check on the status of a payment made to or by us.

3. How we collect personal information

3.1 Methods of collection

We may collect personal information in a number of ways, including:

  • in person (for example, visits to our head office or properties we are developing, at events or at conferences)
  • through our website (for example through our 'Enquiries' form)
  • through our Facebook page
  • over the telephone
  • through written correspondence (such as letters, faxes and emails)
  • on hard copy forms (for example, enquiry forms and surveys)
  • through surveillance cameras at our corporate premises and on some of our display suites or development sites
  • from third parties, including:

the Land Titles Office

relevant State and Territory Valuers General

real estate agents

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

mortgage brokers and/or financial service providers

3.2 Collection notices

Where we collect personal information about you, we will take reasonable steps to provide you with certain details about that collection (such as the purpose for which we are collecting the information and the type of third parties to which it is usually disclosed). We will generally include this information in a collection notice.

Collection notices provide more specific information than this Privacy Policy. The terms of this Privacy Policy are subject to any specific provisions contained in collection notices and in the terms and conditions of particular offers, products
and services. We encourage you to read those provisions carefully.

3.3 Unsolicited information

Unsolicited personal information is personal information we receive that we have taken no active steps to collect (such as an employment application sent to us by an individual on their own initiative, rather than in response to a job advertisement).

We may keep records of unsolicited personal information if the Privacy Act permits it (for example, if the information is reasonably necessary for one or more of our functions or activities). If not, we will destroy or de-identify the information
as soon as practicable, provided it is lawful and reasonable to do so.

4. Why we collect personal information

4.1 General

The main purposes for which we collect, hold, use and disclose personal information are set out below:

  • outlining our development products and services to prospective and existing purchasers
  • completing sales transactions and assisting purchasers with the management of their apartment upon completion of a development
  • promoting ourselves and our products and services, including through direct marketing, events and competitions (see under heading 4.2 below)
  • obtaining products and services for our business
  • obtaining finance for our developments
  • performing research and statistical analysis, including for customer satisfaction and service improvement purposes
  • protecting the security of our offices, staff, customers and the property held on our premises
  • answering queries and resolving complaints
  • recruiting staff and contractors

We may also collect, hold, use and disclose personal information for other purposes explained at the time of collection or:

  • which are required or authorised by law; or
  • for which you have provided your consent.

4.2 Direct marketing

We may use or disclose your personal information to let you know about us and our products and services (including promotions, special offers and events), either where we have your express or implied consent, or where we are otherwise permitted by law to do so.  We may contact you for these purposes in a variety of ways, including by mail, email, SMS, telephone and facsimile.

Opting out

Where you have consented to receiving marketing communications from us, your consent will remain current until you advise us otherwise. However, you can opt out at any time, by:

  • contacting us (details under heading 11 below)
  • advising us if you receive a marketing call that you no longer wish to receive these calls
  • using the unsubscribe facility that we include in our electronic messages (such as emails, SMS and MMS),

Notification of source

If we have collected the personal information that we use to send you marketing communications from a third party (for example a direct mail database provider), you can ask us to notify you of our source of information, and we will do so, unless this would be unreasonable or impracticable.

5. Who we may share your personal information with

We may share personal information with third parties where appropriate for the purposes set out under heading 4, including:

  • land vendors
  • sub-contractors
  • suppliers of fixtures and fittings
  • the Land Titles Office
  • relevant State and Territory Valuers General
  • real estate agents
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission
  • financiers and prospective financiers
  • financial institutions for payment processing
  • an individual’s agent or authorised representative
  • referees whose details are provided to us by job applicants
  • mortgage broker, financial planner and banks if they make enquiries of us
  • owners corporation managers and managing / letting agents
  • our contracted service providers, including:
  • suppliers of building materials and fittings;
  • delivery and shipping providers
  • information technology and data storage providers
  • venues and event organisers
  • marketing and communications agencies
  • research and statistical analysis providers
  • call centres
  • mail houses
  • external business advisers (such as consultants, recruitment advisors, accountants, auditors and lawyers)
  • In each case, we may disclose personal information to the service provider and the service provider may in turn provide us with personal information collected from you in the course of providing the relevant products or services.

6. Cross border disclosure of personal information

We do not currently disclose personal information to third parties located overseas.  If this changes at some time in the future, we will comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act that apply to cross border disclosures of personal information and this Privacy Policy will be amended accordingly.

7. Use of government related identifiers

We will not:

  • use a government related identifier of an individual (such as a Medicare number or driver's licence number) as our own identifier of individuals; or
  • otherwise use or disclose such a government related identifier,
  • unless this is permitted by the Privacy Act (for example, use of an identifier to verify an individual's identity or uses or disclosures required or authorised by or under an Australian law).

8. Data quality and security

8.1 General

We hold personal information in a number of ways, including in electronic databases, email contact lists, and in paper documents held in drawers and cabinets.  Paper files may also be archived in boxes and stored offsite in secure facilities. We take reasonable steps to:

  • make sure that the personal information that we collect, use and disclose is accurate, up to date and complete and (in the case of use and disclosure) relevant;
  • protect the personal information that we hold from misuse, interference and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure; and
  • destroy or permanently de-identify personal information that is no longer needed for any purpose permitted by the APPs.

You can help us keep your information up to date, by letting us know about any changes to your details, such as your address, email address or phone number.

8.2 Security

The steps we take to secure the personal information we hold include website protection measures (such as firewalls and anti-virus software), security restrictions on access to our computer systems (such as login and password protection), controlled
access to our corporate premises, policies on document storage and security, personnel security (including restricting access to personal information on our systems to staff who need that access to carry out their duties, staff training and workplace
policies.

Online credit card payment security

We process payments using EFTPOS and online technologies. All transactions processed by us meet industry security standards to ensure payment details are protected.

Website security

While we endeavour to protect the personal information and privacy of users of our website, we cannot guarantee the security of any information that you disclose online and you disclose that information at your own risk. If you are concerned about
sending your information over the internet, you can contact us by telephone or post (details under heading 11 below).

9. Access and Correction

9.1 General

Please contact our Privacy Officer (details under heading 11 below) if you would like to access or correct the personal information that we hold about you.   We may require you to verify your identity before processing any access or correction requests, to make sure that the personal information we hold is properly protected.

9.2 Access

We will generally provide you with access to your personal information, subject to some exceptions permitted by law. We will also generally provide access in the manner that you have requested (eg by providing photocopies or allowing a file to
be viewed), provided it is reasonable and practicable for us to do so. We may however charge a fee to cover our reasonable costs of locating the information and providing it to you.;

9.3 Correction

If you ask us to correct personal information that we hold about you, we will take reasonable steps to correct that information.

9.4 Timeframe for access and correction requests

Except in the case of more complicated requests, we will endeavour to respond to access and correction requests within 30 days.

9.5 What if we do not agree to your request for access or correction?

If we do not agree to your access or correction request, or if we do not agree to give you access in the manner you requested, we will provide you with a written notice setting out:

  • the reasons for our decision (except to the extent that, having regard to the grounds for refusal, it would be unreasonable to do so); and
  • available complaint mechanisms.

In addition, if we refuse to correct personal information in the manner you have requested, you may ask us to associate your request with the information and we will take reasonable steps to do so.

10. Complaints

If you have a complaint about how we have collected or handled your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer (details under heading 11 below).

We will endeavour in the first instance to deal with your complaint and take any steps necessary to resolve the matter within a week. If we are not able to do so, we will ask you to submit your complaint in writing.

In most cases, we expect to investigate written complaints and provide a response within 30 days of receipt. If the matter is more complex and our investigation may take longer, we will contact you and tell you when we expect to provide our response.

If you are not satisfied with our response, you can refer your complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (see here for further information).

11. Our contact details

Please contact us if you have any queries about the personal information that we hold about you or the way we handle that personal information. Our contact details are set out below.

Mail: PRIVACY OFFICER, 168 WILLIAMS ROAD, PRAHRAN, VICTORIA 3181

Email: info@gurner.com.au

Telephone: 03 9654 6222

Further general information about privacy is available on the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at www.oaic.gov.au or by calling the OAIC's enquiry line at 1300 363 992.

12. Changes to this Policy

We may amend this Privacy Policy from time to time. The current version will be posted on our website and a copy may be obtained by contacting our Privacy Officer (details above).