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NSW Government’s Proposed Changes to the Building and Construction Sector

Caroline Hutchinson ||

Major changes to the building and construction sector are being proposed by the NSW Government following recent highly publicised defect issues with Mascot Towers and Opal Tower.

As part of the continuing process of reforming the sector, the NSW Government has released a discussion paper, ‘Building Stronger Foundations,’ for comment.

The main changes being proposed are:

  • Imposing a requirement that all ‘building designers’ (including home designers, architects, engineers, etc) are to provide statutory declarations in relation to plans they have prepared, confirming that they comply with the Building Code of Australia; 
  • Establishing a statutory ‘duty of care’ to apply to all building practitioners (including building designers) enabling home owners to seek compensation if a building practitioner has been negligent;
  • Appointing a Commissioner who will regulate all aspects of the NSW building industry and have the power to investigate and take disciplinary action for improper conduct; and,
  • Establishing a building designer register, where all building designers must be registered in order to sign off on building plans.

Based on the commentary to date, it is likely that these proposed changes will be passed by the NSW Parliament. If you’re involved in the building and construction sector, you are urged you to read the discussion paper in full and seek legal advice regarding any concerns you have regarding potential future liability.

Public feedback has been invited on the ‘Building Stronger Foundations’ discussion and can be provided via the NSW Government website. Consultation closes on Wednesday 24 July 2019.

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