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NSW takes first step towards registration

The NSW government has released draft regulations to introduce registration for building and development certifiers.

The move comes one month after Victoria passed legislation for compulsory registration of engineers, and follows the recommendations of the Building Confidence implementation plan.

Engineers Australia has criticised what it perceives as the excessively narrow focus of the regulation.

“The NSW government’s proposed plan only applies registration to an engineer who performs a ‘compliance declaration’ for a Class 2 apartment building,” says Engineers Australia’s Jonathan Russell. “It will not improve professional standards for any other part of the building sector like office towers, nursing homes or hospitals. It is also a missed opportunity to extend engineer registration laws to other critical sectors like infrastructure.

“The government has a myopic view of the problem. The proposed reforms would suggest that residential apartments are the only problem. Unfortunately, recent history throws up plenty of high-profile examples where statutory controls of professional engineering practices would have prevented loss of life, injury and cost.”

However, the NSW government has indicated that wider reforms to the building and construction industry are indeed on the way.

“The NSW government recently consulted on the Building Stronger Foundations discussion paper, ” says a spokesperson from the NSW government.

“The paper proposed key reform elements of the NSW government response to the Shergold-Weir report. After careful consideration of the submissions and feedback provided from industry consultation sessions, the government will release an exposure draft of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019.

“In keeping with recommendations put forward in the Shergold-Weir report, the draft bill will include new requirements for registration of a range of building practitioners, including engineers, if they provide plans, designs or performance solutions for buildings.”

The draft regulation for registration of building certifiers is open for comment until October 28.

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