Building Commissioner starts multi-unit construction inspections

Posted on : Tuesday, 9 February 2021

The Building Commissioner has made good on his promises to begin investigating poor quality developments and act against those responsible.  


Using powers awarded to him under the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020, the Commissioner is now visiting sites and issuing stop work notices to recalcitrant builders who are choosing not to address safety concerns.  


The Commissioner has implemented an occupation certificate audit program, to make sure that buildings cannot be settled upon before all required work has been completed and all defects rectified.  


This program involves:  


  • go anywhere, any time audits:  audits that can happen at any stage of the development, whether randomly selected, the result of a tip-off, based on previous performance by the practitioners involved, or in collaboration with other government agencies; 
  • Design and Declared Design audits:   a program that aligns with the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (DBP Act), which will audit up to 15% of declared designs a year;  and 
  • As-built and Declared As-built drawings:  checking to confirm that plans are compliant with regulated requirements and reflect the actual design of the building.  Again, 15% of designs are scheduled for auditing.  


These inspections are occurring in the lead-up to the commencement of the DBP Act on 1 July, 2021.   FPA Australia has provided feedback on the regulations underpinning the Act and will work with the Department to ensure that the fire industry works effectively.    


The actions taken by the Building Commissioner are just the start, as his focus to crack down on poor performing designers and builders intensifies.  


The Department is collecting data - good and bad - from all of these interactions to support research projects that will help to improve construction in the State.  


What we do know is that construction as it used to be is about to change.  


And that can only be a good thing.