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As we’ve previously reported, shoddy workmanship in strata blocks has led to major fails in recent years. In 2018 and 2019, major issues – including cracking in primary support structures, failure of internal fire-rated construction and severe water damage – led to the evacuation of residents from several Sydney apartment towers.
In good news for strata managers and tenants, the NSW Building Commissioner is now implementing stringent procedures in line with new legislation, which will make it much harder for dodgy operators to stay in business.
In the wake of the very public building failures that plagued the strata industry in 2018 and 2019, the NSW parliament subsequently passed two key pieces of legislation. In September 2020, the Residential Apartment Buildings – Compliance and Enforcement Powers Act (RAB Act) came into force, following on from the Design and Building Practitioners Act (D&BP Act), which passed in July.
The legislation is part of the NSW Building Commissioner’s Six Reform Pillars, a plan to overhaul the state’s building and construction industry, that consists of:
– Building a better regulatory framework
– Building ratings systems
– Building skills and capabilities
– Building better procurement methods
– Building a digital future
– Building the reputation for quality research.
The new regulation significantly increases accountability for industry players – something the Danrae team believes is long overdue.
There are several key points to the new legislation. Among new regulatory requirements within the D&BP are compulsory insurance and compliance declarations. The Act also imposes a registration scheme to ensure all builders, engineers and waterproofers are qualified and have the right experience for the job.
Very importantly, the Act includes a requirement for ‘duty of care’ from all builders and contractors to help protect tenants against economic losses, as experienced by many residents impacted in the building faults debacle.
As part of the new RAB Act, all building work must comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) before an occupation certificate (OC) can be issued, and the NSW Building Commissioner has broad powers to inspect and advise against OCs if there is evidence of any defects. Without an OC, developments will not be able to proceed.
As a long-standing family business, Danrae has always taken great pride in delivering exceptional waterproofing solutions for our customers, and it’s reassuring to see that shoddy contractors will be forced to deliver equally professional results – or be outed from the industry.
NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler has indicated he will target unscrupulous builders and shut down construction sites that fail to meet safety and Australian Standards.
NSW Building Commissioner representatives may conduct random audits at any stage during construction of a multi-unit residential project without notice. This aims to keep building work on track, weed out unregistered and non-complying contractors and target the root cause of any serious building defects.
As one example, two stop-work orders have already been issued for a construction project in Strathfield after the developers ignored requests by Safework NSW to lift safety standards. It is clear that the legislation is a positive step forward for the industry.
With projects ranging from schools to hospitals, apartment blocks, botanic gardens and government buildings, we have proven processes to ensure consistent quality that meets all compliance requirements.