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Have your say on proposed certification reforms

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 The NSW Government is progressing reforms to strengthen and simplify the building and certification system in NSW.
The Government proposes to replace the Building Professionals Act 2005 (BP Act), which regulates accredited certifiers, with the Building and Development Certifiers Bill 2018.

The Bill delivers on the Government’s commitment to overhaul certifier regulation in its response to the statutory review of the BP Act by:

  • clarifying certifiers’ roles and responsibilities
  • improving the independence of certifiers
  • tightening licensee probity requirements
  • improving complaint handling and disciplinary procedures for certifiers, and
  • other reforms to streamline, modernise and update the structure and administration of the Act.

Have your say
Visit the Building Professionals Board website to view the consultation documents and have your say by 5pm, 4 September 2018.

 

Certification data reporting now mandatory  

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Mandatory data reporting requirements for local councils and A1-A3 certifiers commenced on 1 July 2018. The article below has some minor clarifications on data reporting.

Regarding compliance, for the first six months the Building Professionals Board is focused on helping certifiers and councils meet requirements. Councils and certifiers are expected to take all reasonable steps to comply as soon as possible.

More information:

 

 

Certification data reporting clarification

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The following advice is based on enquiries from certifiers and councils. 

When to start reporting a building work
Data must first be reported at least two days before building work commences. It does not have to be reported as soon as a complying development certificate (CDC) or construction certificate (CC) is issued or a principal certifying authority (PCA) is appointed.

Replacement PCA for work that began before 1 July
If building work commenced before 1 July 2018, you do not have to report that work even if you were subsequently appointed as a replacement PCA. (However, if you were already reporting data before 1 July, you must finish reporting those works.)

Certain works don’t need to be reported
Our FAQ lists types of works that do not need to be reported (e.g. swimming pools).

Date of commencement of building work
The commencement date of the building work must be reported. Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), the PCA only needs to be given notice of the applicant’s intention to commence, so the PCA may not know the actual commencement date. Report the date notified by the applicant. If you are later advised that the actual commencement date was different, simply amend the record.

All data fields required
The PCA is expected to complete all data fields by the time a final occupation certificate (OC) is issued (our database can automatically populate the latitude and longitude, but complete these if you can).

Some fields in the technical data specifications are labelled ‘required’. This only refers to technical requirements; that is, the minimum required for a file to be accepted by our database. Some data (e.g. inspection dates) can’t be known or required when data is first uploaded for the work.

 

Our mailing address has changed

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Although email is the best way to send documents to us, if you need to use snail mail, send it to our new mailing address: Building Professionals Board, PO Box 972, Parramatta NSW 2124. Mail sent to the old PO Box will be redirected only for a limited time.

 

Building product ban issued for certain types of aluminium composite panel cladding 

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The Commissioner for Fair Trading, Rose Webb, has imposed a building product use ban to prohibit the use of aluminium composite panels with a core comprised of greater than 30 per cent polyethylene (PE) by mass in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, façade or rendered finish in certain multi storey buildings, subject to specific exceptions.

The ban will be in force from 15 August 2018 and remain in force until it is revoked.

Information about the ban is available on the NSW Fair Trading website

 

Recall: Metforce glass pool gate latch

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A lockable glass pool gate latch manufactured by Metforce Pty Ltd has been recalled nationally.

If the gate is open, turning the key may cause the latch to remain locked in the open position and therefore prevent the gate from closing.

The ACCC Product Safety website has a list of recalled pool safety products.

 

Professional indemnity insurance update

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The Board is aware that a tightening in the professional indemnity insurance market means certifiers may have difficulty obtaining a new policy without exclusions, particularly relating to non-compliant cladding.

We have been meeting with insurance brokers and providers, the Insurance Council of Australia, certifier associations and the Professional Standards Authority, and are working urgently to achieve the best possible outcome.

In the meantime, contact the Board if you are concerned about your particular situation: 8522 7800 or bpb-accreditation@bpb.nsw.gov.au

 

BPB website moving to Fair Trading 

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The Board’s website is being integrated with the Fair Trading website, which has just been revamped with a powerful search function. If you can’t find what you want by navigating, a site search is your best bet. The Board’s current website will still be available for a few months.

 

Certifiers can now issue CDCs for lead-in infrastructure

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A1, A2, A3 and B1 certifiers may now issue complying development certificates (CDCs) for ‘lead-in infrastructure’ under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007.

'Lead-in infrastructure' refers to pipelines connecting a development to the relevant utility operator’s water or sewage reticulation systems.

Read more on the Building Professionals Board website

 

Practice advice: Can a certifier terminate a contract if the applicant complains to BPB?

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A certifier recently asked if the following clause was allowable in a contract for certification work: ‘The Certifier may terminate this Agreement, at any time by providing notice to the Client, without prejudice to the Client’s rights at Law or otherwise if the Client makes a complaint to the BPB regarding the conduct of the Certifier’.

Although the Board cannot provide specific legal advice, withdrawing the certifier’s services could be seen as a disincentive to the client pursuing their statutory right to make a complaint about the certifier. This is not supported.

Also, the EP&A legislation has specific processes for PCA replacement. If the contract covered PCA work, it appears that the clause does not align with the EP&A process.

 

E1 practice advice: Section 22E notices

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If a pool fails inspection, the certifier must issue a written notice to the owner, providing minimum details as prescribed by section 22E of the Swimming Pools Act.

A copy of the notice must be sent to the council after six weeks if the pool is still non-compliant, or immediately if the pool is a significant risk to public safety.

Failure to lodge a notice is unsatisfactory unprofessional conduct and grounds for disciplinary action, including financial penalties.

 

BPB may investigate without a complaint

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Anyone can complain about the professional conduct of a certifier, which may result in an investigation. However, you may not be aware that under section 46 of the BP Act, the Board may also investigate without having received a complaint.

This power is generally exercised if we receive information that raises concerns about a certifier’s work. Such information could come from, for example, enquiries from the public; documents reviewed by our Accreditation or Audit teams; or Court and Tribunal decisions.

The Board is part of NSW Fair Trading within the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. We can and do share intelligence with other building regulatory areas covering compliance, enforcement, home building services and SafeWork.

In most instances a certifier will be notified when a section 46 investigation starts (but the BP Act does not require it).

 
bpb.nsw.gov.au