In July 2019 a Public Accountability Committee inquiry, chaired by Mr David Shoebridge MLC, was established to investigate and report on the regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes by government agencies in New South Wales.
A first report was tabled by the Committee on 13 November 2019. The final report of the Committee was tabled on 20 April 2020.
The Committee held seven hearing days between August 2019 and February 2020. Representatives from peak industry bodies representing construction industry professionals, including the Australian Institute of Architects, Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors were amongst those who appeared as witnesses at the hearings.
Both the first and final reports are wide-ranging and voluminous, running to 196 and 226 pages respectively. Overall, the reports contain a total of 41 recommendations to the NSW Government on issues ranging from:
• the NSW Government resuming debate on the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 as a matter of urgency when the NSW Parliament is reconvened;
• the NSW Government providing a substantial funding package to fund the rectification of buildings containing aluminium composite panels and building products that may be banned in future; and
• the NSW Government taking a proactive role in identifying other potentially flammable cladding products on the market and move to ban them or otherwise prevent their unsafe use in the construction industry; through to
• the NSW Government implementing the recommendations put forward in the Lambert Report to improve the certification system as soon as possible and no later than within two years.
The Committee Chair urges the government to fully implement the Committee’s recommendations “to resolve the current crisis in the industry”, noting in his foreword to the final report that the safety and integrity of the New South Wales building and construction industry has never been more important, at a time when all levels of government are looking to deliver a sustained increase in construction activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NSW Government’s response to the interim report is due on 13 May 2020, with its response to the final report due on 30 October 2020.
The first and final reports can be accessed through the links below:
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