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ABCB to play key role in industry reform

The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) met last Thursday to discuss a range of issues facing the building and construction sector – many of which were flagged in the Shergold Weir Building Confidence report.

All jurisdictions agreed to a national approach to implementing the recommendations. And the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) will play a key role.

The strategic plan of the ABCB will be recast to better reflect the current challenges in the building sector. The board itself will also be expanded to include greater representation and engagement from industry.

Additionally, an implementation team will be established “as soon as possible” under the ABCB. The team will be tasked with developing and publicly reporting on a national framework for the consistent implementation of recommendations from the Building Confidence report, as well as the design, construction and certification of complex buildings.

“Industry are invited to contribute to the development of the framework through in-kind secondments to the implementation team,” read a communique released by the BMF after last week’s meeting.

“The national framework will be responsive to the most efficient mechanism to achieve the desired outcome and will result in amendments to the National Construction Code (NCC) and/or the development of other guidance as required.”

Although the ABCB team will facilitate a coordinated, harmonised response from all jurisdictions, ultimate responsibility for implementing any changes will remain the responsibility of the state and territory governments.

This includes funding of any remediation work, for example, combustible cladding. Victoria, which had appealed to the federal government to share this cost, will now look to raise the money through increased building levies.

“The Treasurer has made the Commonwealth’s position very clear,” said Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews. “The issues that have been raised previously will be at the cost of the state and territory governments to resolve.”

The ABCB has been tasked with coming back to the building ministers within a month with a plan for implementation, including resourcing.

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