Publications- Jon Drane

Background: The State of Contemporary Property Development Structures in the Australian Context

The Defects Dilemma has its origins in a research project by Dr Jonathan Drane, Sydney Graduate School of Management, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia. 2017.

By Dr Jonathan Drane


This research explores the systemic historic deterioration of property development and construction practices, their structures and regulatory systems to explain and deter the tragic life threatening events that have arisen in our tall building commercial building sector. Read one page summary flyer:


With the tragedies in Bankstown (Sydney), Grenfell (UK ), and the tower fire in Dubai, (UAE) ( see below)  it has sadly taken the loss of innocent lives to move the building industry and statutory regimes of Australia toward a better regulatory and industry protocol that will mean that people are protected from such tragic outcomes in the multi-apartment dwellings and office towers they occupy.

It is also amazing to think that Australia with its world recognised BCA (Building Code of Australia) is still vulnerable to such incidents due to the decay in systems and protections that were once so strongly embedded in the Australian construction history since the inception of the BCA.

This research project ties in with the  current industry movements for change and helps to explain the underlying structural reasons why the industry has become vulnerable to this epic and tragic event.

The project draws on my prior work related to property developer types, history of property development and their structures drawn from my doctorate and a related seminal paper on the state of contemporary development theory related to the topic:

Drane, J 2015, ;The Seed in the Cityscape: The Property Development Mechanism and its influence on the growth of cities, UNSWorks, Doctoral Thesis.

Link to UNSW Library for Published Doctorate


Study Objectives

A pilot micro-study of the systemic causes behind the deterioration of  industry practices and structures in the NSW construction and property development industry with a focus on multi-apartment dwellings initially. The pilot will inform and frame further substantial research of overall Australian systems with the view to securing defined and effective outcomes for implementation in the future.


The study enhances our understanding of how current systems and practices have led to the deterioration of safety and quality in construction outcomes and defines a new regulatory and systemic structure for future property development and construction.

Proposed Study Fields

Multi-apartment developments in a selection of  dense pre-sales marketplaces in the Sydney Basin.

Study Method

Survey, Case Study, Historical Analysis, Semi-structured interview reinforcing the author’s existing Defects Scenario Matrix which provides an analytical project risk framework. The study draws on the author’s existing doctoral study which included a history of property developer types, dynamics and practices along with  property development industry structures.