New powers to prevent defective buildings entering the market

The NSW Building Commissioner will now have boosted powers to stop defective buildings being sold to consumers, thanks to the passing of the Residential Apartment Buildings Bill 2020 in NSW Parliament today.

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said the Bill will arm the Building Commissioner with a suite of powers to ensure buildings are constructed to a high standard, with robust offences and heavy fines for those doing the wrong thing.

“The Building Commissioner is now equipped with the power to prevent occupation certificates or strata plan registrations before defective buildings can enter the market,” Mr Anderson said.

“This means we now have a clear pathway to lift the standards of construction and prevent consumers from purchasing a property riddled with problems down the track.”

The Bill comes shortly after the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019, which passed through the NSW Parliament yesterday. Together, these two bills provide the legislation needed to support the Government’s six-pillar Building Reform package, which will herald a new era in the building and construction sector.

“The Government is committed to rebuilding and restoring public confidence in the construction industry, and together these two Bills lay the foundations for the biggest shake-up of the building sector NSW has ever seen,” Mr Anderson said.

The NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler, who will be driving implementation of both Bills, said this new legislation is the core of the Government’s six pillar work plan to reform the industry.

“Poor quality buildings and shoddy workmanship simply won’t fly anymore. We’ve got a robust plan in place to put the consumer first and improve transparency and accountability across the sector,” Mr Chandler said.

The new powers apply both to the construction of buildings going forward, but also to existing buildings built in the last ten years.

“These powers, coupled with the statutory duty of care that passed the Parliament, will give homeowners with existing defects in their building the ability to recover the cost of rectification from those who are responsible, ” Mr Chandler concluded.

The powers outlined in the Residential Apartment Buildings Bill will come into effect on 1 September 2020.

First published 4 June 2020

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