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Residential Focus: Missing in action – what has become of the draft building reforms?

10 April 2024

8 min read

#Property, Planning & Development

Published by:

Vishwa Shah, Faith Zalm

Residential Focus: Missing in action – what has become of the draft building reforms?

In 2022, a suite of draft reforming legislation was published for public consultation comprising of the:

  • Building Bill 2022 (see the public consultation draft here)
  • Building Compliance and Enforcement Bill 2022 (see the public consultation draft here)
  • Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

Public consultation closed in November 2022. Only the Building Legislation Amendment Bill emerged from that process in an altered (reduced) state and became the Building Legislation Amendment Act 2023, which commenced on 11 December 2023.

Expectations were that the remaining draft Bills would be introduced to NSW Parliament in early 2024, but there has been no word since. Indeed, indications are that they remain under review following the closing of the public consultation period.

Whilst no one would doubt the commitment to a reformist agenda, not least with the establishment of the Building Commission NSW in December 2023, one does have to wonder if the Bills are merely dusty or have been mothballed. Although the submissions from the public consultation have not been released, it might be expected that sections of the industry, perhaps those commercial and civil contractors who would be subject to licensing and compliance for the first time, would have communicated strong views on the proposed reforms.

Author: Christine Jones

In the media

New home sales rise in February
“Sales of new homes nationally increased by 5.3 per cent in the month of February 2024, from very low levels,” stated HIA Chief Economist, Tim Reardon. The HIA New Home Sales report is a monthly survey of the largest volume home builders in the five largest states and is a leading indicator of future detached home construction (14 March 2024).  Read more here.

Research finds changing languages in construction sector
New analysis by HIA shows a shift in languages spoken in the construction industry pointing to a significant diversification taking place in the workforce, but it also warns that unless the government unlocks new construction migration pathways the industry will struggle to meet its target of building 1.2 million houses within five years (12 March 2024).  Read more here.

Revised redevelopment plans for Riverwood Estate to better meet community expectations
The NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering and upgrading social and affordable homes in Riverwood. A new path forward for the Riverwood housing estate in south-west Sydney will go on public exhibition from today, following extensive consultation by the NSW Government to ensure it creates better known outcomes for social housing residents and aligns with community expectation (9 March 2024).  Read more here.

Results of rental reform survey released
A record number of responses to the Government’s ‘Have Your Say’ survey on rental laws revealed most renters want change, while most owners and real estate agents oppose reforms. Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading, Anoulack Chanthivong, mentions there “are strong views about the future of our rental market because today it impacts more people than ever before”. Read more here.

In the courts and practice

Architects Push for $4bn First Nations Housing Boost
The Australian Institute of Architects has made submissions to the 2024 Australian Government Budget for the acceleration of First Nations housing development to keep pace with the Closing The Gap initiatives. The Institute’s National President Stuart Tanner discusses the need to prioritise First Nations Australians to overcome the current failing of one in five dwellings inhabited by Indigenous people not meeting an acceptable standard, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Read more here.


HIA Industry Research – The changing voice of the Building Industry
Improving diversity within the workforce is widely acknowledged to be a good thing for industry productivity, so it is good to report that the construction industry has become more culturally and linguistically diverse over the last decade. However, the industry is still lagging other industry sectors when it comes to attracting skilled migrants (12 March 2024). Read the report here.

Building Approvals, Australia
The Australian Bureau of Statistics provides the number of dwelling units and the value of buildings approved (4 March 2024). Read more here.

Improving NSW rental laws Public engagement summary report
This report contains the results of the ‘Improving NSW Rental laws’ public consultation survey. This feedback will inform proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act including to the termination of a lease, pets in rentals, the protection of renter information and a portable bond scheme (1 March 2024). Read the report here.


Jakin Constructions Pty Ltd v Shrimpton [2024] NSWCATAP 39
APPEALS- BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – renewal – work order not completed – other appropriate orders available on renewal – money order made in accordance with consent orders – no error on a question of law established.
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW); Home Building Act 1989 (NSW).

The Owners of Strata Plan 93357 v Bloc (ACT) Pty Ltd [2024] NSWSC 239
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – whether proceedings brought out of time – whether interim occupation certificate authorised occupation and use of the “whole of the building” for the purposes of the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW).
CIVIL PROCEDURE – pleadings – application to strike out – whether claims under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) and Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) adequately articulated – whether necessary to prepare a schedule setting out the risks and steps to manage those risks.Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW); Home Building Act 1989 (NSW).

Zhou v Zhang [2024] NSWCATAP 34
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – building claim – right of applicant to withdraw building claim under section 48I of the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) – no discretion of the Tribunal to prevent withdrawal of proceedings under section 48I – no right of respondent to insist on final hearing of dispute in these circumstances.
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW); Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal Act 2001 (NSW) (repealed); Home Building Act 1989 (NSW); Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW) (repealed).

McGinn v Kroopin [2024] NSWCATAP 33
CONSUMER LAW – jurisdiction – NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal Consumer and Commercial Division – claim against director of supplier company who was not involved in the supply of services-supplier company de- registered after supply of the services-business of supplier company carried on by associated company allegation of “illegal phoenix activity” – Tribunal found it had no jurisdiction to determine claim-following the decision applicant asked the Tribunal to recuse itself a bias in respect of outstanding question of costs this.
APPEALS – questions of law concerning jurisdiction of the Tribunal – decision of the Tribunal upheld – second decision about recusal for bias upheld where not attended by sufficient doubt.

Hosseini v Commissioner for Fair Trading [2024] NSWCATOD 23
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – individual contractor licence – general building work – whether evidence establishes two years relevant experience – whether evidence establishes a wide range of building construction work experience – whether experience relevant industry experience


Environmental Planning Instruments
State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022 (NSW) – published LW 29 August 2022
State Environmental Planning Policy (Transport and Infrastructure) 2021 (NSW) – published LW 2 December 2021

Government Bills
Environment Protection Legislation Amendment (Stronger Regulation and Penalties) Bill 2024 – introduced LA 14 March 2024

Passed by both Houses
Environmental Legislation Amendment (Hazardous Chemicals) Bill 2024 – introduced LC 8 February 2024, passed LC 12 March 2024, introduced LA for concurrence 12 March 2024, passed by both Houses 13 Match 2024
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Sea Bed Mining and Exploration) Bill 2024 – introduced LA 7 February 2024, amended in LA 12 March 2024, passed LA 12 March 2024, introduced LC for concurrence 13 March 2024, amended in LC and referred to LA 14 March 2024, LA agrees to LC amendment 14 March 2024, passed by both Houses 14 March 2024

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (NSW) (2021-759) – published LW 17 December 2021
Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 (NSW) (2021-689) – published LW 26 November 2021
Marine Pollution Regulation 2024 (2024-56) – published LW 8 March 2024
Marine Safety Amendment (Penalty Notice Offences) Regulation 2024 (2024-57) – published LW 8 March 2024
Workers Compensation (Indexation) Order 2024 (2024-58) – published LW 8 March 2024

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:

Vishwa Shah, Faith Zalm

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