The State Government is planning a wide range of legal changes to its regulation of the building industry over the next eighteen months or so. The proposed Building Commission will be a “one stop shop” for all regulations, and licensing matters. The Builders’ and Plumbers’ Registration Boards will all come under the one roof, and over time all other building industry related boards will come under the same umbrella.
While this process should be relatively seamless, other proposed changes may not be so smooth. For example there are proposals to reform the system of builders’ registration to include “Licenced supervisors” as well as Licensed (building) contractors. The matter of different tiers of builders’ licensing according to difficulty of work (for example seperate licences for simple building works) will also be examined.
The Building Commission will operate statewide. How this new system requiring licenced builders to carry out building work will operate in remote areas where licenced persons are not available appears to be problematic.
It is also intended to separate the Building Disputes Tribunal (BDT) from the Building Commission. This is to overcome the (incorrect) perception by some that the BDT is not an independent body. Currently the BDT is operated by the Builders’ Registration Board which invites criticism of a “conflict of interest”. Under the new structure the BDT will be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Protection, not the Building Commission, thereby eliminating any perception of bias.
The Building reform menu also includes a proposal to allow private certification of building plans rather than through a local authority and a mandatory inspection process through the various stages of construction.