The West Australian government have announced the approval of the DRIS (Decision Regulation Impact Statement)), which will implement many of the Building Confidence Report recommendations into the West Australian regulatory framework. This will apply to all building classes, except class 1 (which is transitionally delayed).
The Building Better package outlines the most significant reforms to WA’s building-related laws in more than a decade, with the aim of providing greater consumer confidence, avoiding the impacts of costly defects and improving construction quality.
The wide-ranging reforms are based on 39 recommendations in response to the national Building Confidence Report, which considered improvements to building regulatory frameworks and compliance with building standards across Australia.
Summary of the WA Building Regulatory Framework:
Stage 1 (complete):
- Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors;
- Registration scheme (and requirements) for building engineers; and
- Compulsory CPD for engineers.
Stage 2 (this review):
- Reforms to building approvals
- Enhancements to building design documentation, including minimum standards;
- Third-Party review of structural and fire safety designs for complex and significant buildings (Class 2 buildings over 25m in height);
- Clearer processes for documenting design changes during construction;
- Staged implementation of mandatory inspections of new apartment and other commercial buildings at critical stages of construction;
- Improvements to the engagement of building surveyors;
- Building manuals for high-rise apartment buildings to enhance transparency and access to information after construction is complete;
- Improved enforcement powers for the Building Commissioner, Building Services Board and permit authorities;
- Fire authority involvement: improvements to consultation with DFES Commissioner during building design phase;
- Tiered registration of builders and other improvements to requirements for building professionals;
- Compulsory NCC CPD for builders and building surveyors;
- Registration of Project Managers working on commercial buildings; and
- Improvements to regulatory powers, penalties and administrative matters.
Stage 3 (awaiting further government consideration/outcome of earlier stage of review):
- Registration requirements for general building designers; and
- Compulsory NCC CPD for designers (and architects).
These reforms will be subject to substantial legislative amendments, with assumed change commencement by the end of 2025.
RAIA and ACA Reforms to the approval process for commercial buildings in Western Australia – read submission
Reformed process for approving and documenting variations under the building act 2011 to implement recommednation 16 of the building confidence report – read response
Letter of support for the dris reforms to the approval process for commercial buildings in Western Australia– read letter
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Building and Energy Division, 2023
Decision Regulatory Impact Statement; Building Better: Reforms to WA’s Building Regulatory Framework Volume 1
High-level Implementation Roadmap, Page 209
Review of WA Building Regulatory Framework, Page 33