Recent Advocacy & Future Events in NSW/ACT

3 September 2019

The NSW/ACT committee offers an update on recent advocacy and outlines future events. 

Advocacy

The NSW/ACT branch committee has been working very hard on a number of advocacy fronts over the last three months. Most significantly, the committee has been working closely with the NSW chapter of the Institute on representations we are making to the State Government and will be making to David Chandler, the new State Building Commissioner. We have been involved in a number of workshops with the Institute and in a Government Working Group assisting in the legislative process.

A working group assembled by the Institute, variously attended by representatives from the engineering profession, Consult Australia, building certifiers, insurers, the Owner’s Corporation Network and the Master Builders Association, has developed an agreed position on the changes we would like to see adopted within the construction industry under the State Government. The most significant points agreed upon include:

  • Substantially increasing the level of documentation to be signed off at Construction Certificate (CC) stage, requiring details of all essential building elements to be included in this CC package.
  • The reintroduction of the role of the Clerk of Works on site.
  • The registration of all building practitioners, with requirements for ongoing CPD.
  • Home Owners Warranty Insurance to cover buildings over three storeys.

The NSW State Government is currently working on the first stage of drafting new legislation and reforms addressing the Shergold Weir Report and problems that have arisen in many residential buildings over the last few years. The government is planning on finalising the drafts in the coming weeks and bringing legislation into parliament in the coming months. David Chandler is also working on establishing an Industry Engagement Group, and it is looking likely that it may be based on the Institute working group of which we are a part.

We are also redoubling efforts on representations to local government in response to concerns that have been raised recently regarding tenders. The NSW/ACT Committee is concerned that councils do not have the resources and, in some cases, the skills to adequately conduct well-planned EOIs and RFTs. We are discussing ways in which we may work together to improve the process.

2 - Advocacy

Agi Sterling and industry peak bodies meet Gavin Melvin, Chief of Staff to Minister Kevin Anderson for the NSW Building Better Foundations Discussion on Friday, 2 August.

Events

There was a good turnout in June to hear lawyer and architect Christopher Larcos present the updates to the Short Form Architect Client Agreement. Many of the changes concerned issues arising out of charging percentage fees. It provided a platform for some keen discussion around fees and client management.

Chris returns for a presentation on 16 October, where he will be discussing changes to building contracts and amendments he is making for ACA members. Book now so you don't miss out.

On 27 November, Chris Shaw and Tim Horton will be giving the second half of their excellent talk on the Land and Environment Court. Topics covered will include how the system works, what the intent is with various processes, and advice for architects on how best to approach any appeal to the Court. More details to come.