Residents of boarding houses and residential care buildings can sleep better knowing these buildings will now be regulated by the same laws applying to residential apartment blocks and other Class 2 buildings.
From 3 July 2023, NSW Fair Trading and the NSW Building Commissioner will have comprehensive powers to ensure design and building work in Class 3 (shared accommodation) and 9c (residential care facilities) buildings is compliant with the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (DBP Act) and Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (RAB Act).
This will include requiring key design and building practitioners working on these buildings to be registered with NSW Fair Trading and meet minimum standards to be able to continue to work on these buildings.
To comply with the DBP Act, design and building practitioners will need to declare their work on new Class 3 and 9c buildings complies with the Building Code of Australia and ensure designs are lodged on the NSW Planning Portal before building work begins.
The expansion of the DBP Act and RAB Act will also be supported by increased regulator oversight of work by private and council certifiers over Class 3 and 9c buildings – with certifiers required to ensure work meets the exacting standards of the Building Code of Australia. Certifiers will have clear responsibility for working with designers, builders and developers to ensure that Class 3 and 9c buildings provide compliant and safe housing options.
The changes will be phased in, with design and building work for new Class 3 and 9c buildings subject to the rules under the DBP Act from 3 July 2023, and work on existing buildings subject to the new registration requirements from 1 July 2024.
The DBP Act rules and obligations will not apply to work started before 3 July 2023 under a construction certificate or complying development certificate, however, subsequent building work starting on further construction certificates or complying development certificates after 3 July will need to comply with the new rules.
Under the new rules, the building regulator will have clearer lines of sight into new building work by requiring developers to notify the regulator six months before intended occupation. This ensures the regulator can implement its risk-based audit program and carry out inspections to protect future building owners and residents from defective and unsafe buildings.
Where defects in designs or building work are found, the building regulator will have the powers under the RAB Act to order the rectification of defects on any Class 3 or 9c building under construction, undergoing repair or renovation work, or completed in the past 10 years.
The building regulator can also stop work or prohibit the issuing of an occupation certificate where serious breaches of building standards have been found until the defective design or building work is fixed.
Class 3 buildings provide living arrangements for a number of unrelated people including boarding houses, hotels, backpackers, and dormitory style or workers’ accommodation, while Class 9c buildings are residential care buildings where residents require physical assistance with their daily activities.
On June 15, more than 1,200 industry professionals attended an in person and online information sesssion at Meadowbank where presentations from the Office of the Building Commissioner and NSW Fair Trading outlined how the changes would benefit industry.
Quotes to be attributed to NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler
“Residents of of Class 3 and Class 9 c buildings are sometimes society’s most vulnerable in relation to housing or care, and stronger regulation ensures their living arrangements are built with quality and safety.
“The NSW Government has committed to a comprehensive reform agenda which will transform the NSW construction sector into a world-leader in building quality, innovation and consumer focus.
“These changes are designed to ensure buildings are safe, secure and fit for purpose from a customer centric and accountable industry.”
“Our reform agenda remains focused on ensuring we work with industry to lift standards across the sector – we want to see developers, builders, designers and certifiers work with us to deliver the trustworthy homes that NSW needs.”
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