NSW Con­struc­tion Indus­try Reform

The NSW Build­ing Com­mis­sion­er, David Chan­dler OAM, is at the ready with boots on the ground’, to rid the indus­try of dan­ger­ous builders, devel­op­ers and cer­ti­fiers’ and improve con­sumer con­fi­dence in the buy­ing of res­i­den­tial apart­ments in NSW with the com­mence­ment on 1 Sep­tem­ber 2020 of the Res­i­den­tial Apart­ment Build­ings (Com­pli­ance and Enforce­ment Pow­ers) Act 2020[1] (RAB Act).

If you are a devel­op­er of a res­i­den­tial apart­ment build­ing’ you need to be aware of your oblig­a­tions under the RAB Act. Mr Chan­dler has made it clear in recent inter­views[2] the he is going to fix the prob­lem’.

What you need to know?

  • The RAB Act com­mences on 1 Sep­tem­ber 2020
  • The NSW Build­ing Com­mis­sion­er and his team are at the ready’ to imple­ment the pow­ers grant­ed under the RAB Act
  • If you are a devel­op­er[3] as defined under the RAB Act and you are per­form­ing build­ing work’[4] on a res­i­den­tial apart­ment build­ing’[5] that was or is autho­rised to com­mence with a con­struc­tion cer­tifi­cate or com­ply­ing devel­op­ment cer­tifi­cate issued under the Envi­ron­men­tal Plan­ning and Assess­ment Act 1979, and has not been com­plet­ed or has been com­plet­ed with­in the peri­od of 6 years before the exer­cise of that func­tion…’[6] (being a func­tion under the RAB Act), the reform will impact you
  • At least 6 months (but no ear­li­er than 12 months) before you cause or per­mit an occu­pa­tion cer­tifi­cate appli­ca­tion to be made, you must noti­fy the Sec­re­tary of that pro­posed appli­ca­tion[7]
  • If the cir­cum­stances change, and the date of an appli­ca­tion for an occu­pa­tion cer­tifi­cate changes, you must noti­fy the Sec­re­tary of the new expect­ed date’[8]
  • If you fail to give noti­fi­ca­tion of the pro­posed appli­ca­tion for an occu­pa­tion cer­tifi­cate, the Sec­re­tary is sat­is­fied that a seri­ous defect in the build­ing exists’ or you have failed to pay any build­ing bond required under s207 of the Stra­ta Schemes Man­age­ment Act 2015 – the Sec­re­tary may make an order pro­hibit­ing the issue of an occu­pa­tion cer­tifi­cate’[9]

Pow­ers of the Secretary 

  • Infor­ma­tion gath­er­ing pow­ers with the pow­er to direct the pro­vi­sion of infor­ma­tion or records[10]
  • Entry to premis­es by autho­rised offi­cers, with or with­out the author­i­ty of a search war­rant, for the pur­pos­es of exam­i­na­tion, inspec­tion, tak­ing sam­ples, pho­tographs, record­ings, tak­ing pos­ses­sion of records to be used as evi­dence, etc[11]
  • The issu­ing of stop work orders and rec­ti­fi­ca­tion orders [12]
  • Action may be tak­en if orders are not com­plied with includ­ing the issu­ing of a com­pli­ance cost notice which includes a notice to the devel­op­er to pay all or any rea­son­able costs and expens­es incurred by the Sec­re­tary in con­nec­tion with the build­ing work rec­ti­fi­ca­tion order[13]
  • Penal­ty notices may be issued for a penal­ty notice offence[14]

Pro­ceed­ings for Offences and Rights of appeal

  • a devel­op­er who is giv­en a build­ing work rec­ti­fi­ca­tion order may appeal to the Land and Envi­ron­ment Court of NSW[15]
  • pro­ceed­ings for an offence under the RAB Act may be tak­en before the Local Court or the Land and Envi­ron­ment Court in its sum­ma­ry juris­dic­tion[16]

[1] https://​leg​is​la​tion​.nsw​.gov​.au/​#​/​v​i​e​w​/​a​c​t​/​2020/9

[2] 60 Min­utes Buy­ers Beware’

[3] sec­tion 4 

[4] sec­tion 5 

[5] res­i­den­tial apart­ment build­ing means a class 2 build­ing with­in the mean­ing of the Build­ing Code of Aus­tralia, and includes any build­ing con­tain­ing a part that is clas­si­fied as a class 2 com­po­nent, but does not include any build­ing or part of a build­ing exclud­ed from this def­i­n­i­tion by the regulations’

[6] sec­tion 6 

[7] sec­tion 7(1) with the Sec­re­tary’ being the Sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Cus­tomer Service

[8] sec­tion 8 

[9] sec­tion 9(1) with the Sec­re­tary being poten­tial­ly sat­is­fied a seri­ous defect’ is in exis­tence in the cir­cum­stances as described under s9(2)

[10] Part 3, Divi­sion 3 

[11] Part 3, Divi­sion 4

[12] Part 4 and Part 5

[13] see Part 5 Divi­sion 4

[14] see Part 6

[15] see Part 5 Divi­sion 3

[16] see Part 6