New design guide supports building reform in NSW

To support the recent NSW Building Confidence reforms, Consult Australia, Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects have developed the Guide for Design Practitioners and Engineers.

The guide is designed to be a practical resource that highlights key issues relevant to contracts and professional indemnity (PI) insurance relating to the recent legislative and regulatory changes.

Under the NSW Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (the D&BP Act) and the Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021 (the D&BP Regulation) there are multiple new obligations on design practitioners, engineers and building practitioners throughout the life of a building.

“The Australian Institute of Architects, Consult Australia and Engineers Australia have shown great industry leadership to produce a one-stop shop for practice-focused guidance,” says Matt Press, Director of the Office of the Building Commissioner. “The implementation of the Design and Building Practitioner Act creates new roles, responsibilities and liabilities for many players. It’s so important that these are reflected in contracts to make sure clients, designers and engineers are on the same page and we minimise disputes.”

The three peak bodies worked closely with the NSW government and authorities on the reforms, which aim to ensure better compliance with the Building Code of Australia. Together with improved design documentation, the goal is to rectify issues that have had “significant negative impacts” on consumers and building industry practitioners.

“We are determined to continue driving quality and safety improvements in our built environment,” says Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter President, Laura Cockburn.  “This new legislative framework is an important step in that process that will also rebuild consumer confidence and augment the safeguards detailed design documentation brings to any project, but particularly projects at scale.”

Consult Australia CEO Nicola Grayson says the interplay between contractual obligations and PI insurance policies is a critical issue that must be considered before signing any contract.

And Engineers Australia Chief Engineer Jane MacMaster says the state’s reform will help to ensure buildings are built to a high standard.

For a copy of the guide, click here.

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