New NSW Act to Strengthen the NSW Building and Certification System

Monday 19 November 2018 @ 11.01 a.m. | Legal Research

The Building and Development Certifiers Bill 2018 (NSW) (‘the Bill’) has been assented and enacted as the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 (NSW) (‘the Act’). This Act aims to simplify the building and certification system in NSW by clarifying the regulation of certifying authorities.


The Bill was originally introduced as a draft Bill, with public consultation closing on 4 September 2018. The public consultation was conducted as part of the NSW Government’s response to the Independent Review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 (NSW), which this Act now replaces. The draft Bill called for submissions on potential reforms related to the clarification of certifiers’ roles and independence, licence probity requirements and complaint handling procedures.

According to the Draft Explanatory Material, ‘Guide to the Building and Development Certifiers Bill 2018’, the Independent Review made a number of recommendations related to the pre-existing building and certification system. In response, the Government Response identified various legislative areas, and the draft Bill was developed to implement these legislative reforms. As noted in the draft Explanatory Material:

‘The Bill represents a significant rewrite of the current Building Professionals Act. The structure has been improved to simplify, modernise and update requirements and processes to align the regulation of certifiers with the other occupational licensing frameworks administered by NSW Fair Trading. The development of the Bill supports other reforms in this space to ensure that the certification and complying development systems continue to deliver substantial community benefits and have strong public confidence in their use.’

Following the end of public consultation, the Bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly on 17 October 2018 by Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean.

Main Objectives of the Act

The Act has the following main objectives:

  • Repealing the Building Professionals Act 2005 (NSW), the Building Professionals Amendment Act 2008 (NSW) and the Building Professionals Regulation 2007 (NSW);
  • Making amendments that require that consumers be given information about the role of certifiers before entering certain contracts;
  • Providing for the accreditation of persons to carry out work
  • Making amendments that allow the Secretary of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation to take disciplinary action against certifiers when necessary;
  • Making amendments with the purpose of placing obligations on certifiers related to conflicts of interests and indemnity.

In his second reading speech, Mr Kean made the following comments on the proposed amendments to ‘certifiers’ in the Bill:

‘Part 1 of the bill defines a series of key terms that are used throughout the legislation to make it consistent with other occupational licensing frameworks managed by NSW Fair Trading. Certifiers will no longer be referred to as "accredited". Instead, certifiers and body corporates who wish to undertake certification work will need to be "registered" by the secretary of the department. This change will help to differentiate between government-issued registration for people who carry out "certification work", and certificates of accreditation issued by approved non-government bodies who carry out "regulated work" under the newly introduced scheme of co-regulatory accreditation set out in parts 5 and 6 of the bill.’

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Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 (NSW), as published on TimeBase LawOne.

Building and Development Certifiers Bill 2018 (NSW), second reading speech and associated explanatory memorandum as published on TimeBase LawOne.

[draft] Building and Development Certifiers Bill (2018) (NSW), and associated explanatory material, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

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