NSW appoints first Building Commissioner: What does this mean for professionals in the construction industry?

12 August 2019

August has started off on a much needed positive note for the NSW construction industry, with the appointment of the state’s first ever Building Commissioner, industry expert David Chandler.  

With the ongoing concern of defective buildings and “shoddy” construction works in NSW, this new appointment comes as a small reassurance to the public that the government is starting to take charge in the rehabilitation process of the state’s ailing building industry.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian believes that this new appointment will “play a key role in protecting NSW homeowners and driving critical reforms.” 

The reforms that Mr Chandler will be implementing include the recommendations in the 2018 Shergold-Weir Building Confidence Report as well as any additional reforms that may be needed to lift the building standards across NSW. He will have the power to investigate and take disciplinary action on misconduct and will be in charge of driving legislative reforms through consultation with the industry. The reforms will also incorporate a new legislation to be implemented later this year that will require all building practitioners to be registered - the intention being to improve accountability and ensure all buildings are designed and constructed to plans that comply with the Building Code of Australia. This will include engineers, builders, plumbers and fire safety practitioners.

Mr Chandler said recently in an interview that the issue is not necessarily a lack of existing regulations, but rather a lack of enforcement and monitoring of the regulations, and that is where his initial priority will lie. In the coming of his term of service he envisions having the right of entry, the right to call up documents for any project, and has warned people in the industry that they can “expect to see me in their site shed sometime soon”. 

As professionals in the construction industry, whether project manager, consultant or builder, we each have an equally important role to play in ensuring the improvement of the public perception of the industry and helping to clean it up. This starts with making sure we are currently designing and constructing compliant buildings.

Mr Chandler’s position of Building Commissioner is set to begin on the 14th August 2019 and will mark the start of the biggest overhaul to building laws in the state’s history.

Article written by Catherine Atkinson
Junior Project Manager, Cerno