Draft Building Bill 2022
The Institute has continued to call on all Australian governments to take action and urgently improve how building and construction is regulated in response to the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir ‘Building Confidence’ report. We are strongly encouraged by the quality and the nation-leading volume of work which has been undertaken by the NSW government in this area and will continue to engage with government to assist these important reforms continue into the future.
DBP Act & Regulation
We were recently able to obtain further clarity on the impact of the DBP Act on single apartment refurbishments on behalf of our small practice members. Please see the advice below which will shortly be on the Fair Trading website for all consultants to view.
The Revised Compliance Declaration Form is under final review and will be released shortly. We will provide this to members along with relevant guidance as soon as possible.
The Institute is preparing a submission on the proposed amendments to the Housing SEPP and Seniors housing. Should you wish to contribute, please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to Monday 12 December 2022. See the information below:
The Housing SEPP and the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan provisions relating to the following are currently being reviewed:
- In-fill affordable housing
- Planning pathways for social housing and affordable housing
- Group homes and hostels
- Temporary supportive accommodation
- Seniors independent living unit accessibility standards
- Boarding houses
To view the EIE, or make a submission in response to the proposed changes, visit the NSW Planning Portal.
The design guidance for seniors housing is currently also under review. To learn more about this review, visit Seniors housing.
The MLC building remains at high risk and proponents are currently back in court in a bid to have the building demolished. We have, once again, called upon Minister Griffin to reinstate the State Heritage listing on this significant building, given former Minister Harwin clearly supported its listing which was removed solely due to the NSW government’s administrative error. See Minister Griffin’s response to our letter.
Pre-Election Members’ Survey and Campaign
Our Pre-Election Members’ Survey will be sent to members this week. Your input will assist us in preparing our Pre-Election Campaign. Please look out for it in your inboxes!
2022 Policy & Advocacy Yearly Wrap
2022, as many can attest, has been a year of immense reform in NSW as the Building Commissioner and his team have worked to restore consumer confidence in the market, and as many DPIE planning changes have been introduced. Although it is impossible to cover all of the work that has been done in the Policy and Advocacy space, here are some highlights from the year.
In a year when natural disasters ravaged our State, we were disheartened to see Planning Minister Roberts not only revoke the nine planning principles of his predecessor, Minister Rob Stokes, but also the entire Design and Place SEPP package. We have since seen one small aspect of this work reinstated under the Sustainable Buildings SEPP and hope to see more emerge in 2023.
The DBP Act & Regulation have kept us engaged both with government and our members in linking policy with practical implementation. We compiled the Compliance Declaration Toolkit for our members and held a member event with the Building Commissioner to discuss the audits underway as part of the NSW Building Reforms. We have responded to numerous enquiries from members as they have navigated the legislation and we have, with the assistance of some expert members’ input, worked closely with the Fair Trading policy and audit teams to improve guidance and communication around the reforms. An updated Compliance Declaration Toolkit and guidance will follow the release of the new Declaration Form and our dedicated webpage will reflect any changes.
We sought legal advice on behalf of our members to examine any change in duty of care provisions as a result of Part 4 of the DBP Act, and the recent case of Goodwin Street Developments Pty Ltd atf Jesmond Unit Trust v DSD Builders Pty Ltd and will continue to do so where necessary to inform our members.
The negotiated expanded criteria for both the additional experience pathway and the medium rise conditional class which we strongly advocated for on behalf of our members who did not have the experience to qualify as Design Practitioner – architectural are now in place, and the number of those registered has now doubled since June this year.
We advocated strongly for the scrapping of capped daily rates for architects on NSW government contracts and an improvement in the transparency of the process in setting these rates, as the NSW Treasury aimed to standardise procurement and lower the costs to government for architectural services. We were pleased that there was a resulting change in this policy which has seen capped daily rates implemented as ‘guidance only’.
Positioning strategic planning at the heart of decisions about potential land use changes and streamlining the process was the aim of the Discussion Paper, A New Approach to Rezonings on which we provided a submission to government. Other submissions included the Heritage Act Review, The Paint Shop Redfern, and The Powerhouse Ultimo. A full list of recent submissions can be found here.
The Institute worked closely with CreateNSW and the Powerhouse to ensure the competition brief for the Powerhouse Ultimo Renewal adequately detailed the full history of the site to competition teams and captured the importance of the existing buildings on the Ultimo site from both a perspective of architectural significance and in terms of placing sustainability at the forefront through minimising demolition of existing structures.
The Department of Education and School Infrastructure NSW issued an Invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI) for the delivery of the Macquarie Park Education Campus and mixed-use development at the Lachlan’s Line Precinct requiring proponents to submit a design response. This is not in line with the Institute’s Guidelines for EOI’s and RFT’s. It also does not align with the Government’s own 10-point Commitment for the construction sector in terms of reducing bidding costs. We informed our members and wrote to both the Minister for Education along with the Chief Executive of School Infrastructure NSW to express our concerns.
We also bore the brunt of an unfounded and ill-informed attack on the Institute by both former Prime Minister Paul Keating and Premier Perrottet, from whom we have demanded (and still await) an apology.
2023 is already shaping up as a huge year for policy and advocacy. Our pre-election campaign will take priority in the lead up to the NSW election, and we will be engaging with government as the draft Building Bill Regulation starts to take shape.
On Friday 3 February, 2023 we will come together will our fellow Built Environment professionals for a luncheon with Minister Rob Stokes, Shadow Ministers Rose Jackson and Paul Scully and Greens MP Cate Faehrmann to discuss the importance of our professions to the design and delivery of affordable housing, and we will hear from our guests on their vision for affordable housing in 2023 and beyond.
A big thank you to all those members who have contributed their expertise to assist in the preparation of our many submissions and a safe and happy Christmas to all.
Policy & Advocacy Manager NSW