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Release of the draft Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 for public consultation

The NSW Government has released a draft of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 (the draft Bill) which delivers on the reforms committed to by the 2019 Government response to the Building Confidence Report, authored by Professor Peter Shergold AC and Ms Bronwyn Weir.

The draft Bill introduces a suite of new reforms to improve the quality and compliance of design documentation and to strengthen accountability across the design, building and construction sector. The draft Bill proposes the following key reforms, including:

  • Introducing the concept of ‘regulated designs’, which include designs for a building element and performance solutions for prescribed classes of building work or a building element;
  • Requiring that design practitioners who prepare regulated designs issue a compliance declaration to declare that the designs comply with the Building Code of Australia;
  • Requiring that building practitioners obtain, rely upon and build in accordance with declared designs, and issue a compliance declaration to declare they have complied with the Building Code of Australia;
  • Requiring that any variations to declared designs are reprepared and declared by a design practitioner if they are in a building element or performance solution, or in any other case, documented by the building practitioner;
  • Introducing the optional role of a ‘principal design practitioner’;
  • Requiring any design, principal design or building practitioner who intends on making a compliance declaration to be registered under a new registration scheme set out under the draft Bill; and
  • Clarifying the common law to ensure that a duty of care is owed for construction work to certain categories of ‘owner’.

Parts of the reform will be prescribed and finalised by the supporting regulation, once developed. When the Act and regulation commence, it is intended that the reforms will apply to certain categories of regulated designs and to multi-unit and multi-storey residential apartment buildings, which will be set out in the regulation. Other classes of buildings are intended to be included in the new scheme in regulation over time.

Now that the consultation period has closed, feedback will be analysed and the draft Bill will be further amended, where appropriate.

The NSW Government is continuing with its commitment to introduce a final Bill into Parliament by the end of the year, with further work to develop and consult on the regulation in 2020.

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