Earlier this year, Trinity Law provided a submission to the ACT Minister for Planning, Mr Michael Gentleman, MLA in relation to his discussion paper Improving the ACT Building Regulatory System. On 2 August 2016, the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2016.
A few important things to note:
- As a result of the High Court decision of Brookfield Multiplex Ltd v Owners Corporation Strata Plan 61288”, the statutory warranties contained in the Building Act have been extended to include all private buildings and their supporting structures, regardless of the size of the building and whether or not it expressly forms part of the building contract. A new definition of “residential building work contract” has also been inserted into the statutory warranties provision.
- There will be standard contractual terms and requirements.
- Broadening the regulatory and disciplinary powers of the Construction Occupations Registrar, including a new public interest test for licensees.
- Creating a new public register of information about construction licensees (including their licence restrictions, licence conditions and past regulatory action against them), to increase access to information for prospective building clients.
- More clearly defining the role and function of a building certifier and the activities that an inspector can undertake under various Acts.
- A new system of continuing professional development for licensed construction practitioners.
Overall, the reforms are focused on ensuring that the regulatory system remains in step with changing social conditions and building practices, while also maintaining strong protections for the public. It is expected that the new changes will become law towards the end of August 2016.