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Upcoming changes in Certification

 

The New South Wales Government has received a final report and statutory review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (BP Act).  The review was conducted ind
ependently and was a review of the BP Act as well as a consideration of other building and planning matters.

The review is part of the NSW Government strategy to improve planning, development and building laws in NSW and is part of a package of amendments and reviews since 2015 to home building laws, development and management of Strata Schemes, reforms to the building compensation fund, security of payment laws and amendments to the planning system in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1997 (EPA Act).

The Report

The report contained around 150 recommendations of which the government supported 72%. An additional 70 recommendations will be subject to further investigation. The main recommendations are:

(a) Overhaul of the regulation of certifiers with interim amendments to the BP Act to be introduced in late 2016 to fix information gaps about certification.

(b) Clarified ministerial responsibility and administration of building laws.

(c) Draft amendments to the BP Act will be released in late 2016 and will include consolidation of key building provisions which will be allocated to the Minister for Innovation for Better Regulation.

(d) Implement a package of fire safety reforms for both new and existing buildings, draft forms for public consultation will be released early 2017. These will be implemented by amending the EPA Regulations and will include measures targeted at multi-storey residential buildings.

(e) Immediately establish a Building Regulators Committee (BRC) to improve coordination across government.

Changes to enhance accountability of certifiers to act in the public interest, include:

(a) Issuing a practice guide as an administrative instrument.

(b) Creating a program for proactive investigation and audits of certifiers and certification practice in the building sector linked to educational and training programs.

(c) Providing greater clarity to the community about the responsibility of certifiers.

(d) Reviewing statutory controls on contracts between certifiers and the beneficiaries of developments.

(e) Clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the certifier and the obligations of the owner and developer.

(f) The expansion of mandatory stage inspections as part of the fire safety reforms.

Many of the recommendations undertaking further consideration involve the certification procedure in all classes of building and if implemented, will impact the process of certification by increasing the mandatory inspections, the range of documentation required and the communication with all the parties involved in the development and construction process.

Overall, it appears that once the changes are implemented it should lead to a more thorough certification process and earlier detection of problems in building work.

A full copy of all the recommendations and government response is available on the Building Professional’s Board website.

Kelvin Keane is a Senior Associate on the Kreisson Construction team.

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