Clear, considered reforms critical for a strong building industry

Building reforms announced by Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean on Sunday include sensible changes to the construction process and demonstrate a clear and considered plan for reforms to the industry, according to the Property Council of Australia.

The reforms, that include the appointment of a Building Commissioner who will act as the consolidated building regulator in NSW, also come as the Building Ministers Forum that met on Friday last week agreed to adopt the recommendations outlined in the Shergold Weir report that was finalised in February 2018.

The NSW Government will support the majority of recommendations outlined in the Shergold Weir Report.

Property Council NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said today that the reforms that have been announced seem measured and rightly draw from the recommendations in the Shergold Weir Report.

“These reforms demonstrate a considered response from the Government and on first impression, will introduce sensible changes that will instill community confidence in the industry and will ensure good outcomes for our built environment,” Ms Fitzgerald said today.

“Any reforms that are well designed within the context of existing regulation and legislation and respond directly to identified problems in the construction process should be implemented, the Property Council supports a nationally consistent and holistic implementation of the Shergold Weir Report recommendations.

“Reforms like those that empower a Building Commissioner’s office to inspect buildings and conduct a random compliance audit are welcome and provide an additional level of assurance to the construction process.

“The role of the Building Commissioner must be clarified; it would be a mistake to have a Building Commissioner acting as a ‘second approver’ and doubling up on giving the tick to the design plans of a building. This would require a huge resourcing commitment, will further slow an already snail like planning process and not address the real issue – that being the process of construction rather than the final approval of design.” 

Other reforms outlined by Minister Kean include the mandatory registration of workers involved in a supply chain before working on a site and banning the making of alterations during construction, known as building improvisation.

“The important thing is to ensure that we get the right outcomes from these reforms – that solutions are introduced that strengthen the industry and still foster investment, new growth and local jobs,” Ms Fitzgerald said.   

“No doubt the release of the final report into the Opal Tower will also influence the final design of these reforms and will provide an important insight into where the problems occurred in the construction process in that instance.

“The Property Council will form a taskforce to examine the full detail of these reforms and contribute to ensuring we get the right outcomes from this process.”  

Media: William Power – 0429 210 982