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NSW consults on building reform bill

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The NSW Government has released for consultation its draft Design and Building Practitioners Bill, as part of plans to implement reform proposals and rebuild confidence in the construction industry.

Included in the draft bill, which aims to address the findings of the Peter Shergold and Brownyn Weir report, is the establishment of a registration scheme for design practitioners, who must also be “adequately insured”.

The bill says design practitioners have to be “indemnified by insurance that complies with the regulations against any liability to which the design practitioner may become subject as a result of making the declaration or carrying out the work.”

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson describes the draft bill as laying “the foundations for major reforms within the building sector.”

“The Bill will deliver stronger accountability in the building industry and help deliver confidence back in the industry,” he said.

“The reforms will lift the standards of buildings that are constructed in NSW by ensuring the professionals involved in the design and construction of buildings are accountable for their decisions.”

The draft bill makes no mention of requiring engineers to be registered, and the gap has to be addressed, Engineers Australia says.

In its present form, registration applies only to an engineer who performs a compliance declaration for a Class 2 apartment building.

“If the bill in its current form passes Parliament, we know that the Government will only require a select few engineers who work on construction of residential buildings to be registered.

“This is not an acceptable outcome for the people of NSW. A comprehensive registration scheme for engineers delivers real benefits, is efficient and cost effective.

“Engineers Australia calls on the Government to make good on its promise to introduce compulsory registration of engineers.”

Submissions close on October 16. Click here for more information.