The Association of Accredited Certifiers (AAC) has called on the re-elected Berejiklian Government in New South Wales to prioritise action on building industry reforms promised earlier this year.

The package of reforms targeting the building sector include:

  • Introducing a Building Commissioner to act as the consolidated building regulator in NSW, including with responsibility for licensing and auditing practitioners;
  • Clarifying the law to ensure there is an industry-wide duty of care to homeowners and owners corporations so that they have the right to compensation where a building practitioner has been negligent;
  • Requiring building designers, including engineers, declare that building plans specify a building that will comply with the Building Code of Australia;
  • Requiring builders to declare that buildings have been built according to their plans;
  • Requiring building designers and builders to be registered.

AAC CEO, Jill Brookfield said Accredited Certifiers looked forward to working with the Government on its proposed reforms.

According to Brookfield, the proposed reforms are potentially positive steps forward, but further information needs to be provided on the package and its implementation. Observing that action has been delayed on vitally important reforms, she said the Government must ensure the accountability of all building professionals such as builders, engineers, designers and subcontractors through registration or accreditation, and require all stakeholders in construction to be insured.

“Many building professionals, including Accredited Certifiers, are facing a crisis in the construction industry due to the lack of available and affordable Professional Indemnity insurance.

“By ensuring all professionals are accountable for their work and ensuring PI insurance availability we can address this crisis and restore confidence in the construction industry,” Brookfield added.

The AAC recently released an eight-point plan to improve accountability in the construction sector in NSW, which includes:

  • All professionals involved in the design, installation and approvals process must be accredited and insured;
  • All key personnel in the process who are not accredited must be licensed and be required to prove their competency at regular intervals;
  • All documents related to the certification of a building should be in a standard form developed by industry and Government;
  • All persons involved in the certification of any engineering design or technical aspect of construction must issue a certificate on a standard form;
  • Comprehensive auditing of all accredited or licensed persons;
  • All parties involved in the building product supply chain need to be accountable for the products they prescribe, specify, purchase and use;
  • Amend the BASIX scheme to allow applicants to design buildings based on predetermined standards;
  • Strengthen the administration of building regulation in NSW by bringing building regulations and control functions into one portfolio, reporting to one Minister.