Submission on Building Professionals Act 2005 and Position Paper May 2015

This is a submission from Bannermans Lawyers addressing issues raised in the discussion paper, based on our experience acting for strata schemes, community associations, lot owners, managing agents and contractors in relation to strata scheme and community association transactions and disputes. We will confine our submission to issues concerning strata schemes and community associations, i.e. the issues raised in section 1.6 of the discussion paper.

On the whole, the present system works well and there is no need for fundamental reform. This is particularly true when one takes into account the complexity of the relevant issues and the difficult balancing exercise required in relation to the competing interests of various stakeholders.

We have concerns in relation to one issue, where a better outcome could be achieved, namely critical stage inspections under Section 162A of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000 as applied to Class 2 Buildings under the Building Code of Australia, being “a building containing 2 or more sole occupancy units each being a separate dwelling”. In relation to these critical stage inspections:

  1. For Class 2 buildings, Section 162A of the Regulation provides for inspections as follows:

(5) In the case of a class 2, 3 or 4 building, the occasions on which building work must be inspected are:
 

(b) prior to covering of waterproofing in any wet areas, for a minimum of 10% of rooms with wet areas within a building, and

(c) prior to covering any stormwater drainage connections, and

(d) after the building work has been completed and prior to any occupation certificate being issued in relation to the building.

(7A) Inspections of building work must be made on the following occasions in addition to those required by the other provisions of this clause for the building work:

(a) in the case of a swimming pool, as soon as practicable after the barrier (if one is required under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 ) has been erected,

(b) in the case of a class 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 building, after the commencement of the excavation for, andbefore the placement of the first footing.

  1. This level of inspection is not sufficient, particularly taking into account:

a. The complexity and duration of construction pertaining to most residential strata buildings.

b. The potential for safety hazards to arise, in a building which will be inhabited and visited by numerous persons.

c. The potential for building defects to be missed and only become apparent to subsequent owners much later, possible after limitation periods have expired
 

     3. We suggest that consideration be given to requiring a greater level of inspection by certifiers, perhaps at regular calendar intervals.

 

Prepared by Bannermans Lawyers

22 June 2015

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For more information on this topic or any legal enquiries please contact your Construction Team.

 
 

 

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