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FPA Australia welcomes NSW Building Commissioner announcement

Posted on : Monday, 11 February 2019

New South Wales' Innovation and Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean announced on Sunday that the state would establish a new Building Commissioner to oversee and approve construction of new multi-storey residential buildings, and ensure building practitioners are competent.

 

The announcement following the COAG Building Ministers' Forum (BMF) meeting on Friday, which discussed compliance with the National Construction Code and the duty of care of builders, among other issues.

 

The new Building Commissioner would be responsible for approving high-rise designs, and for registering and auditing building practitioners. Under the plan, all designers and builders involved in high-rise construction will need to be registered and qualified, and will need to declare buildings are compliant with the Building Code of Australia. The office of the Building Commissioner would also conduct regular audits of practitioners.

 

In line with an outcome from Friday's BMF meeting, the NSW plan will also clarify the law to ensure building practitioners have a duty of care to owners and corporations.

 

As part of the legislative shake-up, Minister Kean said the NSW Government would accept the "vast majority" of recommendations from the Shergold-Weir Building Confidence report.

 

Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) is strongly encouraged by Minister Kean's announcement.

 

"Minister Kean's announcement promises much-needed oversight and accountability for the New South Wales construction industry," said FPA Australia CEO Scott Williams.

 

"The fire protection industry has long advocated that building practitioners at all levels must have the necessary competence and be accredited to perform their job roles. Minister Kean's announcement is an important step towards regaining consumers' confidence in their buildings, and in those who design, build and maintain them."

 

"The Association believes this affirmative action is overdue, and will go a long way to ensuring that buildings in NSW have the compliance and quality that the community deserves."

 

"FPA Australia looks forward to continuing to work with the NSW Government on improving fire safety and construction outcomes in the state."