Infrastructure Planning & Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2019.

Currently there are two very important areas of policy under review concerning planning and regulation impacting our industry that are open for public submissions. One area deals with National infrastructure planning, while the other building certification in NSW.

The first topic looks at the shape infrastructure planning.

How often do we hear individuals and the wider community complaining about infrastructure; conjected roads, trains running late, schools overcrowded or hospitals operating to breaking point, these are just some of the everyday topics many of our cities are facing.

Now Infrastructure Australia (IA) is taking a collaborative approach to strengthening how our infrastructure needs are planned, and for very good reasons. According to some figures published by IA, by 2031, public transport crowding is expected to grow from five times today’s level to cost Australia $837 million per year and 34.2% of our greenhouse emissions will be contributed by the electricity sector.

Statistics such as these help explain why 4 in 5 Australians consider it very important that major infrastructure planning takes account of community views.

Identifying infrastructure problems and opportunities requires detailed consideration across many varied and important sectors, including housing, social infrastructure, water, energy, roads, airports and ports.

Reflecting our diverse needs over the next 15 years, IA’s current list of projects includes 121 proposals of national significance – the highest number since the list’s inception.

Many of the challenges that have to be addressed include climate change and a re-ordering of the world economy and our increasingly urbanised populations. Increased urban growth will present both challenges and opportunities as to how infrastructure can be delivered.

However, there are also many issues affecting the 3.3 million Australians who don’t live in urban areas. The accessibility, quality and cost of infrastructure services varies depending on where people live. Among the 3.3 million Australians who live outside of our cities and regional centres, according to IA one in 10 Australians live in small towns with populations of fewer than 10,000.

For these communities the right infrastructure can unlock growth, that can be hindered by low populations, extreme weather, changing markets and high building costs.

For these and many other reasons, the reorienting of infrastructure planning around the needs of all Australians – is a critical as it impacts almost every aspect of the housing market.

Wider industry and community input will strengthen future infrastructure planning and it’s worth noting that submissions responding to the 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit will soon close.

Australia has an urgent need to grow the efficiency, capacity and capability of our infrastructure sector. The sector is very diverse, and the current review covers a range of core areas including; Infrastructure services for users, industry efficiency, capacity and capability, passenger & freight transport, social infrastructure, energy (a current and very high-profile topic), telecommunications, water (another urgent topic) and the all too familiar areas of urban transport crowding and congestion.

To help us shape the future and the pending 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, IA has invited government, stakeholders and the community to provide feedback and submissions on the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 with submissions closing on 31 October.

Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2019.

Building regulations and the role of certifiers has become a very sensitive and important topic that’s directly impact many parts of the building and development sectors.

On 24 October 2018, the new Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 (the Act) was passed by NSW Parliament that established a framework for the continuous improvement of certification work, and was built around the following main reforms:

  • providing for the registration of people to carry out certification work;
  • enabling certain body corporates to be approved as accreditation authorities;
  • providing for the accreditation of people to carry out other regulated work;
  • clarifying the roles of certifiers in NSW and their responsibilities;
  • improving the independence of certifiers; and
  • tightening registration requirements and the complaint handling and disciplinary measures.

Currently the NSW Government is planning to bring the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 into force. To do this the new Building and Development Certifiers Regulation 2019 needs to be introduced.

The purpose of the Act is to both streamline and importantly simplify the current system of certification in NSW.

As a reminder the proposed new regulation will have a range of impacts including:

  • detail and streamline the different classes of registration for certification work;
  • prescribe the qualifications, skills, and expertise required to be granted and maintain registration;
  • improve the independence of certifiers and provide certainty around when a conflict of interest arises;
  • clarify roles and responsibilities of certifiers with a Code of Conduct setting out professional standards;
  • provide greater protections for customers by strengthening contract requirements for certification work;
  • establish the new accreditation authority framework to formalise the regulation of competent fire safety practitioners;
  • strengthen compliance and enforcement through penalty notice offences to more effectively target misconduct;
  • applying the CPI to fees consistent with standard Fair Trading practice.

Currently all stakeholders and the wider community have been invited to comment on the proposed Regulation which must be received by 28 October 2019.

These two important policy areas will have both an immediate and long-term impact on the stability and progress of urban planning and the delivery of individual building projects.