Reforms give construction regulator power to reject projects, push for national adoption

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday January 21, 2020

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The New South Wales government has proposed reforms which would see the state building regulator stop questionable developers from constructing risky high-rise apartment blocks.

It has come in response to construction faults that left dangerous cracks in Sydney’s Opal and Mascot Towers in 2018 and 2019.

NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson will present the reforms to his national counterparts next month, in a push for tougher construction regulations to be adopted nationwide.

The reforms would allow NSW building commissioner David Chandler to block construction plans and remove occupation certificates based on a system which ranks builders, developers and certifiers on their workplace safety record, customer complaints, the age of their business, financial credibility, and other aspects.

Those with low rankings would be added to a database, while investors in rejected projects would have their deposits returned. Key documents, such as construction plans, would be digitised to allow instant access during emergencies.

Chandler took on the regulator role in August. Following the appointment he told RN Drive he would “have to take a few people out the back” and make examples of them to get people to follow the rules.

At the time he said he was “satisfied” the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Anderson had the determination to get the job done.

Anderson told The Australian the good developers in NSW want “those who cut corners” gone. He said he was proud to be taking the reforms forward.

State parliament must pass the government’s Design and Building Practitioners Bill, which is currently being held up in the Upper House, in order for the reforms to come into effect.

READ MORE: Unbuilding cities as high-rises reach their use-by date

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