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 initial priorities are:
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 changes relate to complex buildings and do not affect single dwellings or related outbuildings like garages and carports.
The fire safety reforms, introduced by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017 (the Amending Regulation), have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, and represent a critical first step towards strengthening the NSW building regulation and certification system.
In 2016, the NSW Government announced a commitment to take action to strengthen fire safety certification for new and existing buildings. The Amending Regulation helps improve the rigour and checking in the design, approval, construction and maintenance phases of the building life cycle. These amendments have been developed in close consultation with industry and the community.
The 'Building circular' provides information to building certifiers, councils, industry practitioners and building owners on new and changed fire safety requirements under the Amending Regulation.
The 'Fact sheet for building owners on new fire safety requirements' is specifically designed to provide information for building owners about how the changes will affect those building owners who must issue fire safety statements.
The Amending Regulation requires a building owner to issue a fire safety certificate or fire safety statement in the form approved by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment. These new forms approved by the Secretary are effective from 1 December 2017.
Note: the Amending Regulation requires additional information to be recorded on the fire safety statement, including the name and contact details of the person issuing the statement and the competent fire safety practitioner/s who endorsed the statement. These new requirements came into effect on 1 October 2017.
These forms are now available to be completed electronically.
The Frequently Asked Questions are designed to assist building owners and practitioners in applying the requirements of the Regulation relating to annual fire safety statements.
The Amending Regulation establishes responsibilities requiring building owners and building certifiers to select and identify practitioners who are competent fire safety practitioners to perform specified fire safety functions.
The NSW Government will eventually recognise industry schemes that will accredit competent fire safety practitioners. Until then, building owners and building certifiers need to be satisfied that practitioner(s) engaged or relied upon are competent.
Two guides; 'Selecting a competent fire safety practitioner - a guide for building owners who must issue fire safety statements' and 'Competent fire safety practitioners - a guide for building certifiers' have been developed to assist building owners and building certifiers with these responsibilities in the interim period.
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.
In October 2018, the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 was made. This will replace the Building Professionals Act 2005 upon commencement.
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 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.
In March 2018, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the EP&A Act) was updated as part of the broad reforms to the NSW planning system. This included changes to Part 6 (Building and subdivision certification) of the EP&A Act.
You can find more information on these changes on the Part 6 of the EP&A Act page.
Page last updated: 30/08/2019