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Residential Focus

12 February 2020

#Property & Real Estate

Published by:

Rebecca Weakley

Residential Focus

Commissioner builds team for industry overhaul

On 6 February, the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, announced that the recruitment process had commenced for up to 75 staff to support the newly appointed NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler OAM, in his task to overhaul the NSW building and construction industry.

Recruitment will begin with hiring a ‘Transformation Management’ team of up to 15 operational staff, tasked exclusively with delivering the NSW Government’s six pillars of building reform. A further 60 roles responsible for implementing new audit, registration and lodgement processes are to be phased in over time.

The six reform pillars, which were announced in January, provide the aspirational framework for the reform process to be implemented by the Commissioner and concern establishing or improving: regulatory frameworks; rating systems; skills and capabilities; procurement methods; a digital future and the reputation for quality research. They are the latest articulation of NSW Government’s reform agenda in the context of the Shergold Weir Report.

The Shergold Weir Report of February 2018 provided 24 recommendations, relating to: registration and training of practitioners; roles and responsibilities of regulators; the role of fire authorities; integrity of private building surveyors; collecting and sharing building information and intelligence; adequacy of documentation and record keeping; inspection regimes; post-construction information management; building product safety; and implementation of the recommendations.

The NSW Government’s February 2019 response to the Shergold Weir Report, was to support the majority of the Report’s recommendations and to commit to appointing a Building Commissioner, overhauling compliance reporting, ensuring an industry-wide duty of care to homeowners and introducing registration requirements for building practitioners with reporting obligations. These commitments were further explored in its June 2019 ‘Building Stronger Foundations’ discussion paper.

A key legislative plank in the reforms, is the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 and debate on the Bill resumes in the NSW Upper House in the final week of February 2020.

There is clearly a significant task ahead for the Commissioner and his 75 strong team, if they are to work towards achieving even some of the six reform pillars. But there is no mention in this of more front line resources to deal with complaints and enforcement throughout the industry, which is ultimately what makes any system of regulation a robust system.

Authors: Christine Jones & Rebecca Weakley

In the media

10 New Skyscrapers Set to Finish in 2020
Listed real estate investment trusts and top-tier property developers constructing mega-projects across the country are putting the final touches on a number of city shaping projects which are set to finish over 2020 (05 February 2020).  More...

Prefab industry to help with quick rebuilds after bushfires
Prefabricated homes, which are manufactured fully or partly in a factory and assembled onsite, are much faster to build than conventional homes, making them an option for the thousands of people seeking to rebuild after the fires (04 February 2020).  More...

Housing construction looks set to pick up
Residential building approvals have picked up for the first time in 18 months, exceeding market expectations. Despite a month-on-month fall in numbers last year, building approvals have recorded a mild upswing of 2.1 per cent in the year to December 2019, according to the latest data released by Australian Bureau of Statistics (04 February 2020).  More...

HIA: 2019 was a challenging year for home builders
Building approvals in the 2019 calendar year were 18.5per cent lower compared to 2018, which has been a significant drag on the national economy. The market did improve in the final months of 2019, suggesting that the building industry will not continue to constrain economic growth in 2020 (31 January 2020).  More...

BDAV: How is technology disrupting the construction industry
Instead of relying solely on skills, blueprints, and a few tools to turn raw material into masterpieces, workers have new technologies available that will streamlines processes, making many construction projects quicker, easier, and more accurate (28 January 2020).  More...

Building reforms boosted with new transformation team
Minister Anderson said the recruitment process within the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner will commence with the hiring of a new Transformation Management team, and the phased delivery of up to 60 new roles responsible for the implementation and operation of the new auditing, registration and design lodgement functions (06 February 2020).  More...

Greenlight for Pagewood Green
Developer Harry Triguboff has been given the green light to embark on the second and final stage of the biggest residential project in his 56-year property career, Pagewood Green (28 January 2020).  More...


Australia Bureau of Statistics
03/02/2020 Building Approvals, Australia, Dec 2019 (cat no. 8731.0).

Building standards give us false hope: there’s no such thing as a fireproof house
The National Construction Code provides false, and dangerous, hope. It requires new homes (Class 1 buildings) built in declared “bushfire-prone” areas to be built to either Australian Standard 3959, the National Association of Steelframed Housing standard “Steel Framed Construction in Bushfire Areas”, or a “performance solution”, which could be anything that in the opinion of a qualified person complies with the performance requirements of the code (30 January 2020).  More...

Practice and courts

Have your say on the ABCB website
The Australian Building Codes Board is seeking feedback from stakeholders ahead of a redevelopment of the ABCB, NCC and WaterMark websites. On 29 January 2020, the ABCB released a short survey to complete, closing on 11 February 2020.  More...

Be prepared for the Fire Safety Verification Method adoption date
The latest free ABCB webinar series to discuss the new Verification Method (31 January 2020).  More...

New NatHERS certificate to be rolled out by 30 April 2020
A new NatHERS certificate will soon come into use as software tools transition to Chenath Engine version 3.21. The new NatHERS certificate has been developed after significant consultation with industry users and will replace the previous “universal certificate” for all new assessments from 1 May 2020.  More...

Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) draft credits
GBCA have introduced eight categories to more accessibly define a building’s sustainability. Within these categories there are a number of draft credits that all buildings seeking a Green Star rating are expected to comply with: these are proposed as new Minimum Expectations for every Green Star rated building. Feedback is invited until the end of February 2020.  More...

RICS UN backed global standard
RICS is chairing the development of the International Fire Safety Standard and it follows previous RICS work to bring consistency to the standards people can expect globally across property, construction and valuation. The International Fire Safety Standards will be open for global consultation until 23 March with the final international standard to be published later in 2020.

RICS Building Confidence Conference 2020
The Building Confidence Conference is RICS' flagship event that puts a spotlight on the role of Chartered Surveyors, engineers, architects and contractors in the built environment, will be held in Sydney, August 2020.  More...

ABCB: Registration is open for the 2020 NCC Seminars!
Next March and April the ABCB will be presenting in a capital city near you (2020).  More...

NABERS Reminder: Auditors, Supervisors, and Trainers Panel Announced
Congratulations to the new Panel Selection for NABERS Auditors, Supervisors, and Trainers, for October 2019-October 2022.    More...

 Building Information Modelling (BIM) for WHS management
What is the best practice and implications of using BIM in WHS management?
Timeline of project; Project completion: Mid 2021.  More...


Boyce v Building Professionals Board (No 2) [2020] NSWCATOD 14
PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE – review of decision of Building Professionals Board to discipline an accredited certifier – unsatisfactory professional conduct – professional misconduct – appropriate penalty

Vella v Mir (No 3) [2020] NSWCATAP 17
APPEAL – Costs of appeal – costs of first instance proceedings
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013; Civil and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2014; Home Building Act 1989

The Owners Strata Plan 87265 v Saaib [2020] NSWSC 21
1. Uphold the claim by the Owners Corporation of client legal privilege in respect of the email
2. Mr Saaib's application to be permitted to inspect and copy the same is refused.
CIVIL PROCEDURE – notices to produce – client legal privilege – whether documents privileged under s 119 Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) – communications between plaintiff and witness where witness is also defendant in contingent proceedings – implied obligation of confidentiality where dominant purpose of communications is obtaining evidence
Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), Sch 2 – The Australian Consumer Law, s 18; Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) ss 117, 119, 131A; Home Building Act 1989 (NSW)


Proclamations commencing Acts
Better Regulation Legislation Amendment Act 2019 No 23 (2019-623) — published LW 16 December 2019
Schedule 1 amends the following Acts—(a)Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 No 46,(b)Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 No 63,(c)Building Professionals Act 2005 No 115,

Reminder: Proclamation, appoint 23 March 2020 as the day on which Schedule 1.8[3] and [4] to that Act commence.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Published by:

Rebecca Weakley

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