On 27 April 2018, the Building Minister’s Forum (BMF) released the final report by Professor Peter Shergold AC and Ms Bronwyn Weir entitled ‘Building Confidence – Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia’ (the Report).

The Report was commissioned by the BMF in August 2017 to independently assess the broader compliance and enforcement problems within building and construction systems across Australia. More than 50 industry organisations and individuals were consulted during the development of the Report.

The Report proposes a significant package of reforms to strengthen effective implementation of the National Construction Code (NCC), including:

  • a nationally consistent approach to registration of certain categories of building practitioners, and compulsory continuing professional development, including mandatory training on the National Construction Code and supervised training
  • broader powers conferred on regulators and greater collaboration between state and local government bodies to improve regulatory oversight
  • mandated early engagement with fire authorities on designs, which include, performance solutions on fire safety matters
  • focus on the integrity of building surveyors, including minimum statutory requirements for their engagement and role, and a code of conduct with legislative status
  • a central regulatory database to provide information sharing to inform regulatory activities, accessible by appropriate authorised persons, including owners and purchasers
  • statutory obligations on design practitioners to prepare documentation that demonstrates that proposed buildings will comply with the NCC, and a more robust approach to third party review of designs, and to the documentation and approval of performance solutions and variations
  • mandated on-site inspections of all building works, and greater oversight of the installation and certification of fire safety systems in commercial buildings
  • comprehensive digital building manual to be produced for commercial building owners, which may be passed on to successive owners, to include as-built construction documents; details of fire safety systems and maintenance requirements
  • that the BMF agree its position on the establishment of compulsory product certification system for high-risk building products.

The Report recommends a commitment to a three-year timetable for implementation of the recommendations.

The recommendations are wide-ranging and will have impact across the whole of the building and construction industry. The Report has received in-principle support from the BMF, and future directions and next steps will be considered by the BMF at its next meeting.

We will provide further updates once the BMF’s responses to the Report have been released.