NSW announce building industry reforms

Published: 21 February 2019

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean MP, recently announced a range of reforms aimed at improving the quality and safety of buildings.

The reforms include the appointment of a Building Commissioner as the consolidated building regulator in NSW, as well as the mandatory registration of builders and building designers. 

In making the announcement, Minister Kean declared the reforms the "biggest shake-up in building and construction laws in our state's history."

Although the specifics of the reforms are still to be worked our, Mr Kean said that under his proposed laws "people who do work in the building and construction industry" will have "to take responsibility for their work"'. 

That would mean "requiring designers to sign off on their designs, and builders to build their buildings in line with those designs"'.

The commissioner would have responsibility for enforcing the licensing scheme. 

The reform announcement follows increasing concerns about the safety and quality of buildings, especially high-rise apartments, and draws heavily from the recommendations outlined in the Shergold Weir report that was finalised in February 2018.

At a meeting of Building Ministers in Hobart recently, all jurisdictions agreed to adopt the recommendations outlined in the report, which presented 24 recommendations aimed at restoring confidence in Australia's building and construction compliance regime.

The NSW Government has said it supports the majority of recommendations outlined in the Shergold Weir Report, although Minister Kean has not yet indicated which of the recommendations the government would not implement.

AMCA Executive Director in NSW, Mr Graham Mackrill, said the proposed reforms "appear a sensible response to concerns raised about the safety and quality of buildings."  

"The proposed reforms draw heavily from recommendations made in the Shergold-Wier report, which industry broadly supports, and should go some way to instilling more confidence in the industry."

"Of course, further detail is still required on exactly how these reforms will be implemented in practice, so the AMCA looks forward to participating in the consultation process."