Industry News

Continuing Professional Development is crucial

Written by Ray Loveridge Professor, School of Built Environment University of Technology Sydney (UTS) 22/08/2019
UTS Business School, Sydney NSW

Over the past few decades, innovative design and construction technologies have become fundamental qualities of Australia’s building industry. An outstanding example of contemporary innovative design and construction is the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, home of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Business School.

In response to progressive regulatory, client, and societal requirements, industry practitioners find it necessary to continually enhance their knowledge; rather than risk becoming uncompetitive or, potentially, incompetent. In recent times the broad community has been exposed to the consequences of practitioners failing to adequately address their obligations.

Performance-based building design course

UTS considers that in a contemporary, competitive and progressively globalised building industry, competent practitioners must have the ability to design and construct buildings in compliance with the performance-based NCC.

Accordingly, the UTS School of the Built Environment has developed a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short course that's tailored to meet the needs of practitioners who aspire to gain knowledge of -

  • contemporary building regulation systems;
  • the scope and content of NCC mandatory Performance Requirements; and
  • a functional methodology for developing Performance Solutions.

The CPD short course is supported by the following organisations:

Background

In 2017, following national and international incidents of fires in high-rise apartment buildings, the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) Building Ministers’ Forum commissioned Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir to prepare a report into the efficacy of Australian building regulations. Their report was published in February 2018 and the Executive Summary stated, in part; “After having examined the matters put to us, we have concluded that their nature and extent are significant and concerning. The problems have led to diminishing public confidence that the building and construction industry can deliver compliant, safe buildings which will perform to the expected standards over the long term.”  The report offered 24 recommendations, several of which related to the administration of building regulations and the application of the NCC.

In particular, Recommendation 3 proposed the introduction of compulsory CPD for building industry practitioners and, in part, stated that “Many stakeholders report that building practitioners across the industry do not have a sufficient understanding of the NCC or its revisions. This has led to non-compliance or poor-quality documentation of compliance. Misinterpretation or ignorance of the requirements of the NCC is not uncommon. Indeed, this failure has been offered as one explanation for the prevalence of non-compliant cladding on buildings across Australia.”

A similar comment was offered by the Australian Construction Industry Forum, which stated that; “The “Deemed-to-Satisfy” Provisions of the Code have long been standard practice. However, in the “performance-based” solutions provisions there is great latitude and propensity for misunderstanding and the divergence of opinions on what is meant and what are acceptable alternatives. This requires much clarification.”

In response to Recommendation 3, UTS is offering a short course that aims to supplement the knowledge of practitioners wishing to effectively operate within a performance-based design and construction environment. The course will be presented by Professor Ray Loveridge, who worked at the ABCB for over a decade prior to returning to UTS as an adjunct professor in 2018.

Specific information on the course is available on the UTS website.

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