In July 2019 the ABCB was tasked by Building Ministers to develop national responses to the recommendations of the Building Confidence Report (BCR).
The BCR was commissioned shortly after a number of significant building fires and was to advise on a national best practice approach to regulation of the building sector. The report, authored by Professor Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir, highlights significant building regulatory non-compliance in the construction industry across Australia. The report contains 24 recommendations aimed at addressing these non-compliances.
A macro-economic impact analysis, commissioned by the ABCB to guide the development of national responses, estimates that building regulatory non-compliance costs Australians approximately $2.5 billion annually. The analysis notes that the most significant defects relate to waterproofing, weatherproofing, structural and fire safety. Addressing these problems through the development and implementation of best practice model guidance could reduce defect rectification costs by $1.5 billion annually and offer $375 million of productivity savings to industry annually.
The model guidance is comprehensive and covers key matters including national registration of building practitioners, codes of conduct for building surveyors and fire safety engineers, improved building design acceptance processes, mandatory building inspections and independent third party review of fire and structural safety design.
Implementation of the model guidance will strengthen compliance with the National Construction Code and state and territory building legislation. State and territory governments have committed to consider implementing the model guidance in addition to any progress already made in responding to the recommendations of the BCR.
The ABCB Chair, Glenys Beauchamp PSM, believes “the best practice model guidance provides a benchmark for governments to consider in strengthening their compliance arrangements and she thanks the many stakeholders who collaborated in this process with the Office of the ABCB”. The Chair noted that code compliance needs to improve in the construction of buildings to ensure consumers are not left to foot the bill for defective and non-compliant building work.
The national model guidance was produced with the assistance of industry and governments. It provides flexibility to allow governments to consider implementation to suit their individual regulatory systems.
Further work on developing the next phase of the Building Product Assurance Framework, in response to recommendation 21, will be undertaken by senior building officials with the ABCB. Senior building officials have been asked to report back to Building Ministers on progress in the first half of 2022.
A detailed summary of the work undertaken to respond to the BCR recommendations has also been released.