Progress report: 1 month in and we have foundations

David Chandler OAM, NSW Building Commissioner, is driving crucial reforms to transform the industry.

Beautiful blue sky during sunrise above the city of Sydney Australia

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As Building Commissioner, I’ve had a very productive first month laying the foundations for my work leading transformation of the NSW building and construction industry.

Since I began on 14 August, I have met with more than 40 stakeholders including consumers, developers, financiers, insurers, builders, architects, state government regulators, and local councils. I have made it clear to them that my primary focus is to foster industry improvements, so that the built environment of our future meets the needs and expectations of the customers who invest in them.

What I have been thrilled with is the appetite for change within the industry. Many of the most significant industry stakeholders are telling me: “David, we want this change”. I am encountering overwhelming support for change.

Most of the industry is rejecting the poor practices and systems that have tarnished the great majority and plunged public confidence.

I’ve seen examples of poor practices first-hand. In my new role I’ve visited buildings and work sites that were examples of quality, and ones that made me embarrassed on behalf of our industry. And I have been in this industry for over 40 years. It will be part of my role to recommend to government recourse and remediation methods for the owners of buildings with significant defects.

Now is an exceptional time to harness the market’s wish for change – the market is my biggest lever to transform the industry into one that is future-fit and customer-centric. My role is not to implement this change. It is to lead and coordinate, and influence.

Similarly, I am performing a leadership role within government. This is to ensure that regulatory and legislative reforms, such as the upcoming legislative response to the Shergold-Weir report into the state of our national building industry, are implemented with pace and in a way that is understandable and meaningful to industry.

I have also had the opportunity to address Parliament twice this month. I have explained that I don’t need a Building Commission under me to achieve dramatic change. This is because of this leadership role, and my ability to draw on the many resources available within government, the education sector and the industry. I will, however, engage the resources needed to undertake my role.

This month I have also met with educators to discuss training requirements and how we can transform our industry’s culture to one of accountability and pride, and how we can also collect data on how our industry is currently performing and have a baseline to measure improvements against. We will use this data to prioritise opportunities to enhance NSW construction capabilities.

Data will be a crucial tool in measuring progress and the industry’s performance. Data is necessary for transparency – for the customer, and as a mirror to hold back to the industry.

I am working with government and stakeholders to finalise the list of outcomes I would like to achieve in the important work ahead. I have undertaken to detail my progress against outcomes and tasks six months into my tenure once the government has endorsed my work plan.

I think it’s important though to continue to update you regularly via this blog, to ensure there is transparency about the process, which will focus on outcomes for the customer and the whole industry, rather than any specific interest groups.

I thank the dozens of people who have contacted me in the past month.  I am reviewing your correspondence regularly and will continue to use the themes that emerge to inform my work priorities.

I invite you to engage with me via the forms below.

Engage with the Commissioner

Use this contact form if you have experience dealing with buildings that have substantial defects relating to structure, waterproofing, fire rating and enclosure: The Building Commissioner is keen to hear your perspective.

Use this contribution form if you would like to make a contribution towards creating a more confident, customer-facing construction industry. The Building Commissioner is keen to hear your suggestions.

Advice and support

These agencies provide a range of support and advice services to assist with building related matters.

NSW Fair Trading

Fair Trading provides services and advice for purchasers, renters and owners regarding home building complaints

There is also specific assistance for:

Mascot Towers assistance package

Opal Tower information for residents and landlords

SafeWork

To notify an incident involving serious injury, illness, death or a dangerous incident in a building site call SafeWork on 13 10 50 immediately.

For more information, visit SafeWork

Home building compensation scheme

Home building compensation (HBC) cover – formerly known as home warranty insurance – is an important consumer protection for homeowners in NSW.

It helps homeowners if their builder is unable to complete building work or fix defects because they have become insolvent, died, disappeared or had their licence suspended for failing to comply with a money order made by a court or the tribunal in favour of the home owner.

For more information, visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority


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