Architects endorse vital safety reforms

Date: 21 Jan 2020

The NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects has thrown its support behind the NSW Government’s plan to introduce improved building safety regulations.

NSW Chapter President Kathlyn Loseby said the new ‘Six Pillars’ regulations to boost the powers of the construction regulator were a much-needed and appropriate response.
‘The Institute has been calling for improved building safety regulations for years,’ she said.
‘We support the NSW Government action on this and now we need a national scheme that helps to protect all consumers around the country.

‘Safety has always been our top priority. This crackdown on shonky operators will start the process of ensuring Australian people and property are protected.
‘Documentation is absolutely critical to improving safety, transparency and, most importantly, accountability. We fully endorse this move and appreciate the NSW Government’s willingness to take on board our ideas for a better regulated building industry.’

These Six Pillars are aimed at building a better regulatory framework, building ratings systems, improving skills and capabilities, creating better procurement methods, and digitising record-keeping platforms and improving research.
The NSW Government has flagged it will introduce additional regulations to allow the Building Commissioner powers to remove a contractor’s occupation certificate in the event of defects.

A ranking system will also allow greater transparency during the construction process.
Plans will also have to be lodged with the regulator to allow for a faster response in the event of a structural problem.

Ms Loseby said the Institute would continue to call for the registration of all professionals across the construction supply chain, with an equivalent level of regulation for all practitioners as that of architects who are highly trained, qualified and registered.
‘Quality building should trump time and cost every time,’ she said.

‘Our built environment – our homes, workplaces and leisure spaces – are integral to the effective functioning of the nation. We should never allow a system that scrimps on quality and safety.

‘This Bill with the added regulations goes some way to restoring quality and safety as the most important elements in building construction.’

The Institute has called for community protection through the regulation of all building practitioners, especially for complex construction including multi-unit residential towers, design certification, water-tightness of buildings, structural design and project management.

A system of licensing for different building classes and sizes should be introduced, with building practitioners to hold appropriate qualifications, licences and insurance.

The Institute has been a leading voice on building safety across Australia. NSW Chapter representatives have given evidence twice to parliamentary committees regarding safety issues and continue to support government and the new NSW Building Commissioner in achieving overdue reforms.