New Draft Bill Promises to Clean Up the Building Sector

In the last few years, there have been a number of structural disasters around the world. We have seen buildings catch fire, fall down, flood, and bridges collapse. Australia hasn’t been spared, with our own combustible cladding apartment fires in Melbourne.

You may have watched the news and wondered how on earth could that have happened in 2019?

If so, you weren’t alone.

building confidence report by Shergold-Weir found accountabilities were unclear and insufficient.

As a result, NSW is about to overhaul the building sector, starting with a new law, the Design and Building Professionals Bill 2019.

Public consultation about the new legislation closed in October. It is expected that, with some revisions, it could be passed early next year into New South Wales.

The intention of the legislation is to clean up the building system.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farrelly describes the new suite of changes as driven from catastrophe.

“Just as our apartment-dwelling numbers have soared, our legal protections have become vanishingly small.”

The law is focused on high-rise apartments but will impact all residential buildings after it is passed.

Here at Design Plus Drafting, we are pleased with the new laws. As building designers who are meticulous with detail, we enthusiastically support the push for industry-wide duty of care to homeowners, both houses and apartments.

There are six pillars to the new laws.

The new Act is the first pillar. A risk-rating tool will become pillar two. This tool will serve to identify shoddy buildings and developers and give the NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler powers to conduct site audits and stop work.

The other pillars concern education and rebuilding standards that have been successively deregulated to the point where they have eroded public safety.

The As-Built Must Match Design

Significantly, the new bill requires the building to match the design. If not, the builder will have a duty of care to the owner. The building designer must declare that the design complies with the Building Code of Australia and relevant standards. The drawings will be electronically lodged.

A new insurance and registration scheme for designers is being introduced.

The builder must also electronically lodge the ‘as-builts’. The builder is responsible for any deviations. The two sets of documentation must match before the building will be signed off as safe for occupancy by a certifier.

While the intention of the bill is admirable, it has received criticism from some architects as not directly addressing the problem of shonky builders.

How it plays out is yet to be seen.

How may this impact Design Plus Drafting?

Design Plus Drafting is an offshoot of Drawable, which provides trade drafting to large construction projects, including significant high-rise buildings in Australia. As part of Drawable, we able to perform world-class 3D Laser Scans. The 3D laser scan is able to efficiently take accurate 3D surveys of a finished building and verify that it matches the design model. No doubt this will be highly desirable for builders and project managers and engineers going forward.

As building designers and draftspeople, we are meticulous in our design. We understand that when you build or renovate a home, you are entrusting us with what’s likely your biggest asset. As always, we value and respect that trust.

For any design and drafting queries, please get in touch with the team on 02 9565 2265.