Giving evidence this week for the second time to the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes, the Australian Institute of Architects has again called for bold reform to put consumer protection and safety ahead of time and cost as the primary drivers in the construction industry.
NSW Chapter President Kathlyn Loseby said the Institute welcomed the introduction into the NSW Parliament of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 as an important step forward.
‘The sooner the NSW Government can move to finalise the reform agenda, the better for the NSW economy, construction industry and consumers,’ Ms Loseby said.
‘We were pleased to have been given the opportunity to provide comment on the Bill at the hearing.
‘The Bill is a positive step towards the implementation of solutions to address what can only be described as a crisis in the construction industry, but more change is needed and this must happen as quickly as possible.
‘Now is the time for bold reform. Never before has there been such a groundswell of both popular and industry support for better regulation and we urge the NSW Government to maximise this unique opportunity to drive lasting change.
‘We have been engaging closely with Government and regulators, including the new Building Commissioner and it’s very encouraging to see the NSW Government making changes in response to the nationally endorsed recommendations of the Shergold-Weir Building Confidence report.
‘The Institute looks forward to playing a lead role in supporting the Government as work continues.
‘A commitment to safety, quality and putting the consumer first is the only way to restore confidence and ensure the ongoing integrity of Australia’s construction industry.
‘There must be increased accountability and that’s why the Institute wants to see a nationwide requirement for the registration of all building practitioners, in the same way architects are. We will be watching closely as government drafts further legislation and regulation to make sure this occurs.
‘Despite many of these issues being systemic and widespread, there are also many reputable builders who already have their own checks and balances in place and are delivering high quality apartments to the market.
‘In addressing these challenges it is critical to also acknowledge the many building practitioners who are doing the right thing and creating robust, safe and high-quality houses and apartments.
‘While trust may understandably have been shaken, consumers do still have access to new building stock in which they can have confidence.
‘Rebuilding this confidence over the long-term requires everyone – government, regulators and building practitioners – to work together in the best interests of the consumer and we will continue to push for this to occur in the shortest possible time period.’
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