Changes to building and development certifier laws

On 1 July 2020 the Building and Development Certifiers Act and Regulation commenced as the new legislation that regulates certifiers (building surveyors, certain engineers, swimming pool inspectors, and strata and subdivision certifiers).

For details download the presentation.

Key changes include:

Improvements to registration

  • Certifiers will be ‘registered’ rather than accredited. Your existing accreditation continues until your expiry date, so just renew when you normally would.
  • The new online certifier register will provide more detail about each certifier.
  • Some accreditation categories are merged into registration classes – refer to the comparison table.
  • Multi-year registration is available for up to 5 years.
  • Building inspectors (former A4 certifiers) are required to only inspect performance solutions, under supervision of the principal certifier.
  • Building surveyor – restricted (class 1 and 10) (former A3 certifiers) will be permitted to certify performance solutions, and pools with a performance solution for P2.2.4 of the BCA.
  • This doesn’t apply to existing A3 certifiers who after 1 July 2020 are required to continue to comply with conditions that their existing A3 certificate of accreditation is subject to, including the requirement that they only issue certificates involving class 1 and 10 buildings under the BCA, but only if the building achieves compliance with the performance requirements of the BCA by complying with the deemed – to satisfy provisions of the BCA (and not by the formulation of any alternative solution).
  • Fair Trading intends imposing a condition on all existing A3 certifiers registrations when renewed after 1 July 2020, limiting their certification work to buildings that achieve compliance with the BCA by satisfying the deemed – to - satisfy provisions of the BCA and not by formulating a performance solution
    • Existing A3 certifiers must apply to Fair Trading for a variation of your registration and be granted the variation to carry out certification work involving class 1 and 10 buildings that achieve compliance with the BCA by formulating a performance solution.
  • Existing council accredited certifiers whose accreditation limits them to working for a council are required to continue to continue to comply with this condition after 30 June 2020. It's intended to impose this condition on all existing certificates of council accreditation when the council certifier applies for renewal from 1 July 2020. To work privately, they'll need to apply and meet the requirements in the Regulation.
  • Registered bodies corporate must have at least one registered director and cannot carry out any certification work if it doesn’t have a suitably qualified director. Suitably qualified director, in relation to certification work, means a director who is a registered individual whose registration authorises the individual to carry out certification work. The director’s individual registration must be in the same (or higher).
  • The CPD Guidelines explain the changed continuing professional development requirements.

Assistance with insurance availability

  • The permitted cladding exclusion has been amended to reflect market offerings.
  • Fair Trading will have power to require information from insurers about insurance policies.

Compliance obligations

  • Conflict of interest provisions have changed – refer to Conflicts of interest for certifiers.
  • The Code of Conduct is now part of the Regulation, not a separate document.
  • Any contract for certification work (entered into on or after 1 July) must be accompanied by the relevant Fair Trading information sheet.
  • Later this year, a certifier practice guide will be published to assist certifiers in carrying out their statutory obligations.

Improved enforcement mechanisms

  • There are new offences, such as for licence lending.
  • Fair Trading has broader powers to investigate and audit certifiers, and to investigate any breach of the legislation, by any person.
  • There are now broad grounds for disciplinary action rather than references to unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.
  • There are new powers for Fair Trading to suspend a certifier’s registration until a monetary penalty is paid, and to issue public warnings about certifiers.
  • The statute of limitations is extended from two to three years.
  • The Home Building Act has been amended to make it an offence for a builder to influence the applicant’s choice of certifier.

Arrangements for accredited fire safety practitioners

Accredited practitioners (fire safety)is the new name for competent fire safety practitioners.

These are currently the only type of ‘accredited practitioners’ who do ‘regulated work’.

Other types of work may in future be required to be done by accredited practitioners.

Read more about the changes for fire safety and accredited practitioners.

More information

Visit the NSW Legislation website to read the new laws in full:

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