Whilst individual States and Territories are at different points in implementing approaches to building quality and the broader issue of compliance and enforcement, the ABCB, at the request of Building Ministers' Forum, is developing a national framework for the consistent implementation of recommendations of the Building Confidence Report (BCR).
What is the BCR?
In August 2017, Building Ministers commissioned the BCR by independent experts, Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir. The report makes recommendations for national best practice to strengthen effective implementation of the NCC and improving compliance and enforcement practices.
Implementing the BCR recommendations
The ABCB’s 2019-20 Business Plan refers to the BCR National Framework, a program for delivering options/proposals responding to the recommendations of the BCR, and for the design, construction and certification of complex buildings. Adoption and ultimate implementation of the National Framework outputs remains the responsibility of the state and territory governments.
The ABCB has established an Implementation Team responsible for delivery and reporting on the National Framework.
Assisting the ABCB and the Implementation Team is an Industry Leaders Consultative Group, which provides a channel to engage with key industry bodies whose participation in improving practice and culture has been recognised by Building Ministers as critical to addressing many of the issues identified in the BCR. An Experts’ Panel has also been established. The panel consists of individuals with experience and expertise from a cross section of backgrounds relevant to the subject matter of the BCR. The Experts’ Panel is responsible for providing specific technical advice on possible responses to each of the recommendations.
BCR and the out-of-cycle amendment
The ABCB is currently processing an out-of-cycle amendment to NCC 2019. It includes proposed amendments for Volumes One and Two, the NCC Governing Requirements and common Schedules. Proposed amendments directly relating to the BCR include:
i) A new defined term, ‘building complexity’. The purpose of the defined term is to identify buildings for which increased supervision of design and construction is appropriate.
ii) Prescriptive requirements for developing Performance Solutions.
The process will require a Performance Based Design Brief to improve the quality and clarity of Performance Solutions for both approval and auditing purposes.
It is anticipated that the final form of the amendment be available in March 2020 and adopted by state and territory governments from 1 June 2020.
BCR and education
Work is underway to deliver an enhanced education initiative with the potential to underpin a number of the BCR’s recommendations. This project focuses on developing digitally focused resources for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) units targeting existing practitioners in the building and plumbing sectors. It also includes NCC curriculum content for relevant vocational and higher education courses, coordinated with accreditation bodies.
Through this work, a foundation for establishing core competencies to apply and use the NCC is laid. This may also link to licencing and registration of practitioners by state and territory governments.
This initiative complements existing work by the ABCB to improve understanding of the NCC through free online access to the code, generic supporting materials, seminars and other NCC information materials.