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The NSW Government is implementing a package of reforms to strengthen NSW’s building regulation and certification system.

 

The reform package follows an independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005, known as the 'Lambert Review'. The review found a number of issues with the NSW building regulation and certification system and made a number of recommendations to strengthen and simplify the system.

 

The review and the NSW Government’s response can be found on the Building Professionals Board website.

 

The initial priorities are:

  • A package of fire safety reforms for both new and existing buildings;
  • Consolidation of building provisions in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979;
  • Reform of certifier regulation by re-writing the Building Professionals Act 2005; and
  • New measures to facilitate better use and sharing of certification data.

See below for further information on the initial priorities.

The NSW Government has enacted reforms to improve fire safety for both new and existing buildings.

 

The fire safety reforms have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, and represent a critical first step towards strengthening the NSW building regulation and certification system, that will integrate with future reforms.

 

The regulations will come into effect on 1 October 2017. From that date several new requirements will apply immediately to new developments (such as new requirements activating FR NSW input and new critical stage inspections for certifiers). The remaining new and changed requirements will not apply to development already approved or pending on 1 October.

 

Key fire safety reform documents can be accessed below.

 

Download the fire safety regulation

Download

The new regulation will improve fire safety in new and existing buildings. It does not apply to houses and/or their outbuildings. The changes include:

 

Design and approval

  • Mandatory involvement of ’competent fire safety practitioners’ in specific functions. These practitioners will eventually all be required to be accredited.
  • Mandatory submission of endorsed plans and specifications for complex fire safety systems to the certifying authority before those systems are installed.
  • New and changed requirements for the documenting, endorsing and checking of non-standard fire safety designs (referred to as performance solutions / alternative solutions under the Building Code of Australia).
  • Limited exceptions from compliance with technical standards for minor safety system works.

 

Construction

  • New critical stage inspections targeting apartments and other buildings where people sleep.
  • New Fire and Rescue NSW inspection power for multi-unit residential buildings.

 

Maintenance of fire safety measures

  • Assessment of the ongoing performance of essential fire safety measures must now be undertaken by ‘competent fire safety practitioners’.

The NSW Government acknowledges the need to improve the Building Professionals Act 2005 to strengthen requirements relating to the accreditation, investigation, auditing and disciplining of certifying authorities.

 

The NSW Government intends to replace the Act with a new Building and Development Certifiers Act. A draft exposure Bill will be placed on public exhibition in late 2017 with the final Bill introduced to Parliament following the review of the public submissions received.

The fire safety regulations represent the start of the reform process. Work is continuing to identify opportunities to further review and improve the building regulation and certification system.

 

A variety recommendations were made in the final report of the independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005.

 

The NSW Government’s has committed to assessing these recommendations and will consider the need for further reforms to improve the building regulation and certification system into the future.

 

Any future reforms will be subject to consultation prior to being finalised and implemented.

Page last updated: 06/07/2017