Introduced by New South Wales Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson, the new plans have been designed to heighten transparency, accountability and work quality in the industry.
At the heart of the plan is a novel system in which builders, developers and certifiers would receive ratings and scores according to workplace safety, customer satisfaction, the lifespan of their business, their financial reputation, suspicions of phoenixing and other factors.
Those with weak scores would be flagged via a computer database, to guarantee that their projects are subject to scrutiny.
When he is not happy with the contractors or the project, Building Commissioner David Chandler will have the power to block the project and withdraw the occupation certificate.
Other features of the plan are:
- Putting in place rules and regulations and shifting the regulator’s focus
- Developing skills and capabilities by way of enhanced accreditation of construction programs and enhanced standard modules
- Improved procurement practices through the implementation of defined standards for engagement and outputs, and a more equal distribution of project risk and performance accountability
- Enhanced industry digitation by way of digital recordkeeping and shared industry platforms
- Improved quality research by way of an evidence-driven approach to access and fill in the gap by way of case studies and other research.
Building industry lobby organisations approve of the plan.
Kathly Loseby, NSW Chapter President of the Australian Institute of Architects, commended this strategy, stating that a ranking scheme would–beyond protecting consumers–lend transparency to the construction business, thus protecting consumers across the nation.
For the reforms to take effect, the Design and Building Practitioners Bill must be passed.
The Bill – stalled in the Upper House as the Opposition Labor Party and the Greens push for amendments – does not specify the new ranking system.
Yet the system will be introduced via regulations which will come into effect with the Bill’s passage.
Debate on the Bill is poised to continue the last week of February.
Anderson encourages the Opposition and cross-bench to support the passing of the bill.