NSW Government delivers historic building reforms to restore industry confidence

Staff reporterJune 28, 20200 min read

Following the call for the registration of more building and design practitioners since its incorporation, the NSW Government has delivered on its promise to restore public confidence in the building industry by successfully passing the Association of Accredited Certifiers (AAC)'s Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019

This bill will increase accountability in the construction sector and improve outcomes for consumers. The legislation ensures that building designers and building practitioners are register in NSW and more accountable for their work on building sites. 

AAC CEO, Jill Brookfield said the Bill will increase accountability, protect consumers, and weed out practitioners doing the wrong thing. "The passage of this Bill is a win for the community and a win for every building practitioner who wants their industry cleaned up," said Ms Brookfield. 

“For too long, unregistered building and design practitioners have been allowed to work on NSW construction sites without any accountability. These reforms mean their days are coming to an end. 

“As we have argued for some time, more building practitioners must be registered and insured if we are to improve accountability and outcomes for the community. 

“This will work to establish a more robust construction industry in NSW, which puts consumers first and weeds out operators doing the wrong thing.

“The NSW Government has rightly identified the importance of the construction industry in supporting the broader economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These reforms are crucial in ensuring the right framework for the construction industry is in place to assist in the post-COVID-19 economic rebuild.

“The Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 provides an important framework for improving accountability amongst building practitioners in NSW. 

“The Bill is the first step in addressing this lack of accountability and improving confidence in the entire system.

“Central to ensuring its operational success will be the development of robust and thorough associated regulations, which establish professional indemnity insurance requirements for these newly registered practitioners.”

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said the much-needed reforms, passed by Parliament today, mark the start of a new era in the design and construction of buildings in NSW.  

“The NSW Government has a no nonsense approach to achieving and maintaining best practice regulation across all of the industries that it regulates, and the building sector is no exception,” Mr Anderson said. 

“This Bill is all about putting consumers first by giving those entering the property market peace of mind that their home will be expertly designed and built in compliance with the Australian Building Codes.” 

The Minister said the Bill, developed through extensive consultation with industry stakeholders and the public, will ensure NSW has a leading system of design and building regulation that delivers well-constructed buildings into the future.

“The passing of the Bill is a huge step forward in the rebuilding the construction sector into a transparent, accountable, customer-centric industry that consumers deserve,” Mr Anderson said. 

“Owners of apartment buildings with defects will benefit immediately from the statutory duty of care that applies to all new buildings and those less than ten years old.”

Also introduced to NSW Parliament this week is the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2020, boosting the Building Commissioner’s power to stop dodgy builders and developers in their tracks.  

The NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler OAM, will be leading the regulator’s implementation of both Bills, through an expert team of up to 60 new staff who will undertake increased investigation, audit and compliance activities. 

“Combined, these two Bills put the interests of consumers first and show that the Government is serious about lifting the standard of work across the building and construction sector,” Mr Chandler said.

“The laws will give my team a broad range of powers, including the ability to issue stop work orders, prevent strata plan registration and occupation certificates, and to issue hefty fines for those doing the wrong thing.”  

The two pieces of legislation forms one part of the NSW Government’s comprehensive six part reform agenda to lift standards and accountability in the building sector. 

Staff reporter

Building Design
Nsw Government
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