Future Directions for Compliance in the Construction and Building Industry

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On 27 April the Building Ministers’ forum (BMF) met to discuss recommendations in the final report ‘Building Confidence – Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia’ (the Report).[1] In this article we look at some compliance and enforcement recommendations contained in the Report. This will be of interest to any business in Australia involved in construction or property development.

Compliance in Construction
Sydney Australia, 2 May 2018. Photo Connor
By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter.

Background to Compliance in Construction: The Report

The Report was independently commissioned by the BMF to independently assess compliance and enforcement problems within compliance in construction systems across Australia. It is aimed at strengthening implementation of the National Construction Code across jurisdictions (states and territories). A specific concern motivating the Report was the death of 71 people in the Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017, which has been attributed to highly combustible polyethylene cladding.[2]

The Recommendations

Some (but not all) of the key recommendations in the Report are listed below:

  • Each jurisdiction should require the following categories of registration for building practitioners:
    • Builder
    • Site or Project Manager
    • Building Surveyor
    • Building Inspector
    • Architect
    • Engineer
    • Designer/Draftsperson
    • Plumber
    • Fire Safety Practitioner.[3]
  • Requirements for registration and training should be consistent across states and territories;[4]
  • Each jurisdiction should establish formal mechanisms for collaborative partnership between regulators (whether state or local government) and private building surveyors (where they have been given and enforcement role);[5]
  • Each jurisdiction should give regulators broad monitoring powers and an ability to carry out compliance and enforcement action;[6]
  • Each jurisdiction should develop more pro-active audit strategies for the oversight of the construction of commercial buildings with annual reporting on outcomes;[7]
  • Each jurisdiction should implement measures to mitigate conflicts of interest in the responsibilities of private building surveyors. Private building surveyors often have both design and compliance responsibilities;[8]
  • Each jurisdiction should require that building approval documentation be prepared by certain types of registered practitioner in accordance with the National Construction Code;[9]
  • Independent third-party review should be introduced for certain designs and buildings;[10]
  • On-site inspections of building work should be introduced at identified notification stages.[11]

The BMF has provided in-principle support for the Report with Ministers to examine the Report’s findings and recommendations in detail and agreeing to discuss future directions at the next BMF meeting.

For more information, contact the team by clicking here.

[1] https://industry.gov.au/industry/IndustrySectors/buildingandconstruction/Documents/BMF-Communique—27-April-2018.pdf

[2] For the Report go to https://industry.gov.au/industry/IndustrySectors/buildingandconstruction/Documents/Shergold-and-Weir-Report—BMF-Expert-Assessment.pdf.

[3] The Report, p15.

[4] The Report, p17.

[5] The Report, p20.

[6] The Report, p21.

[7] The Report, p22.

[8] The Report, p25.

[9] The Report, p26.

[10] The Report, p27.

[11] The Report, p34.

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