The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 introduces a range of statutory obligations on workers in the building industry. Notable is the new statutory duty of care toward property owners imposed upon anyone performing construction work.

While property owners have protections under statutory warranties, there were doubts as to whether they were due a duty of care protection under the law prior to the implementation of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020. The new Act extends the duty of care to be a legislative requirement; requiring workers to take reasonable care to avoid an economic loss to the property owner caused by defects in their work.

Previous to the Act’s assent, there have been significant problems with building defects and a lack of accountability. The rate of defects in NSW was higher than 97 percent at one stage; with cladding, waterproofing and fire protection the most common type of defects. The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 also initiates a register of practitioners; a comprehensive registration regime that requires designers, engineers, and all people who contract to do building work to be named on a publicly available register of registered practitioners.

At the current moment, the Act is only partially in force but will be fully enforceable and effected on 1 July 2021.

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