The Australian Building Codes Board has introduced a discussion paper regarding a draft National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners.

The proposed framework outlines registration categories to apply to design, construction, building certification and project coordination.

In each category, the framework describes the work that those registered will be able to do, as well as qualifications and experience required to qualify for registration.

Under the auspices of this proposed framework, the core discipline in the professional design category is the registered building designer, who will be certified to design buildings and document design work via deemed-to-satisfy or performance solutions but will not be enabled to labour in specialised fields like engineering or technical design of gas, electrical, plumbing or fire safety systems.

A trio of levels of accreditation will be applied to low-rise buildings (level 3), medium rise buildings (level 2) or all buildings (level 1).

In addition, specialist categories of registered design professionals will feature those who do engineering designtechnical design or ‘endorsed expert building’ design.

Types of engineering in which registration will be required will include structural, mechanical, electric, hydraulic, fire safety and façade.

Technical categories for plumbing and fire safety design will be performed by only certain specialists, as will projects involving disability access and energy efficiency design.

In the realm of construction, the core discipline centres around a registered builder, who will be permitted and empowered to coordinate and deploy workers, equipment and materials for new building projects or standing construction retrofit/renovation endeavours.

These three registration levels will concern single-residential buildings (NCC (class 1 and 10), medium rise commercial/multi-residential (class 2 to 9) and high-rise commercial/multi-residential.

Due to the different skill levels needed for single-storey dwellings, those wanting to build both single and dual level buildings will require separate licenses to perform both types of work.

In the realm of construction, the framework mandates that different licences will be needed for fire systems installers and plumbers.

For the purpose of fire systems installation, different categories of license will be needed to install sprinklers, hydrants and hose reels, fire alarms, emergency and exit lighting and passive fire and smoke systems.

In the job category of plumbing, licences will be required for sanitary plumbing and drainage and water systems.

Regarding the issue of building compliance, where the framework states that registration will be required for building certification and fire systems inspection: In the area of building certification, dual levels of license will concern restricted buildings or all buildings.

In the realm of fire systems inspection, licenses will be needed to inspect water-based firefighting mechanisms and fire suppression programs; fire detecting, alarm and warning systems; fire and smoke management systems; passive fire and smoke systems; emergency and exit light systems and specialised hazard systems.

The framework envisions projects organised by registered project managers, who will hold two levels of license: commercial and restricted commercial. Registration will not be needed to coordinate single storey residential construction.

The proposed framework adheres to recommendations in the Building Confidence report, written for the Building Ministers’ Forum by Professor Peter Shergold and lawyer Bronwyn Weir, that states and territories mandate registration of professionals in a few areas and that these requirements be consistent countrywide.

Overall, the proposed framework intends to devise a nationally consistent approach in regards to building practitioner registration.