FPA Australia calls for taskforce to improve NCC implementation

Posted on : Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Following release of the Shergold-Weir report in May into Australia's compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry, Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) is calling on the Building Ministers' Forum (BMF) to establish a new taskforce to develop a national administrative code to harmonise building legislation.


The 24 recommendations made by the Shergold-Weir report set out a roadmap to improve future compliance and enforcement of the National Construction Code (NCC), with an ultimate outcome of improving the safety and quality of Australian buildings.


While FPA Australia is broadly supportive of these recommendations, the Association believes their success is critically reliant on nationally consistent implementation. The current fragmentation of administrative legislation between states and territories is a significant cause of confusion and complexity, leading to less compliance and reduced life safety of Australian buildings.


FPA Australia is therefore calling on the BMF to establish a new National Construction Code Implementation Taskforce (NCCIT), drawing together government and industry to manage the development of a model NCC Administrative Code to harmonise requirements and compliance with the NCC across all states and territories wherever possible.


"We envisage a process not dissimilar to the development of the NCC itself, except instead of technical provisions we concentrate on improving the consistency of administrative requirements such as documentation, approval and referral processes, recognition of roles and competencies, consistent terminology and lifecycle compliance," said Matthew Wright, FPA Australia's General Manager - Technical Services/Deputy CEO.


"The tragic Grenfell fire in London last year has forced a review of processes globally. In the UK, a review by Dame Judith Hackitt found shortcomings in compliance and enforcement processes that can only be addressed with a nationally-consistent approach. The core challenges are very similar in Australia, as are the solutions."


The Association intends to present a formal proposal, outlined below, to establish the Taskforce to the BMF during an industry forum in August.


FPA Australia is also currently speaking with other industry groups and administrative bodies about the Taskforce concept and collaborating to make it a reality.



Proposed NCCIT concept

  1. Acknowledge that the extent of the problem requires the formation of a new body provisionally referred to as the National Construction Code Implementation Taskforce (NCCIT)
  2. The members and terms of reference for the NCCIT are determined by the BMF in consultation with industry but include as a minimum:
    1. To develop a model NCC Administrative Code (NAC) to support implementation of the NCC that each jurisdiction would reference and implement.
    2. To develop this model NAC, review of the issues and recommendations identified by the Shergold Weir report and also those identified by Hackitt, where applicable; and
    3. Taking into account the current requirements of each jurisdiction, prioritise the issues and systematically develop the components of the model NCC Administrative Code, which are expected to include, but are not necessarily limited to:
      • Roles and responsibilities
      • Competency requirements and recognition pathways
      • Documentation requirements and expectations
      • Design, inspection and approval process requirements, including referrals
      • Product compliance requirements
      • Essential lifecycle safety processes
      • Enforcement capability and expectations
      • Data collection, sharing and information management
      • Transitional provisions
    4. Develop and table reports for each of the proposed model NCC Administrative Code components above and ultimately consolidate the agreed recommendations of these to become the model NAC.
    5. The NCCIT is co-chaired by a government and industry representative appointed by the BMF and is made up of government and industry representatives seconded from their current roles for designated periods, including ABCB staff.