The NSW Parliament in July 2020, passed two significant pieces of legislation that affect builders & other professionals practicing in New South Wales.

Key features of the new legislation

The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2019 became law on 1 July 2020.

The Act establishes a registration scheme for design practitioners, requires new compliance declarations and imposes enhanced compliance obligations on building practitioners.

Currently, the Act only impacts Class 2 (multi-residential) and mixed-use buildings, however, it will be rolled out to other building classes in subsequent years.

The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (RAB) confers new powers on the NSW Building Commissioner and introduces new penalties for non-compliance.

The RAB aims to prevent developers from carrying out building work that may result in serious defects to building work or result in significant harm or loss to the public or current or future occupiers of the building.

From 1 September, the RAB became law and allows the NSW Building Commissioner to enter building sites and demand to see documents, inspect and check that construction is appropriate. The Building Commissioner will also have the ability to issue a stop-work order, a building works rectification order and prohibits the Occupation Certificate from being issued.

These new powers apply both to the construction of buildings going forward, but also to existing buildings built in the last 10 years.

Together, these two Acts support the NSW Government’s six-pillar Building Reform package, constituting its response to the national Shergold-Weir Building Confidence Report (2017) and the NSW Lambert Report (2015).

The full details of the legislation will be developed in the regulations on an ongoing basis and the AIA plans to use the opportunity to address a number of its residual concerns.

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