Introducing the Design Building Practitioners Act

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In an initiative to further protect consumers, the NSW Government has created new legislation associated with major works. The Design & Building Practitioners Act (DBPA) sets out compliance requirements for certain works with its main objective being to ensure such works are completed in a manner that is “fit for purpose” and compliant with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

The Relevant legislation:

Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (DBPA) – https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2020-007

and

Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021 (DBPR) – https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2021-0152

What triggers requirements under new legislation?

Typically, works that require any of the below listed elements trigger an obligation to comply with the new legislation;

  • Works that require development consent
  • Waterproofing work (excluding work relating to alterations to a bathroom, kitchen, laundry or toilet)
  • Fire safety works with a “load–bearing” component
  • Fire safety works carried out to a component of the system
  • Cladding work
  • Any work not listed under the list of “exemptions” per section 13 of the Design & Building Practitioners Regulation – https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2021-0152#sec.13

It is understood that the purpose of the legislation is to protect consumers from progressing an ill-considered scope to solve important issues within their building.

The obligation, for compliance, is with the engaged tradesperson. This obligation includes the need for contractors to provide “relevant documents” with the government “no later than 90 days after the occupation certificate is issued for the building or part of the building to which the building work relates”. The aforementioned documents are uploaded onto a government on-line portal and are also subject to future audits.

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Is this legislation already in place?

Yes, requirements to comply with DBPA legislation is in place.

What does this mean for consumers, Owners and Committees?

As with any additional legislative requirement, the ability to ensure compliance carries with it additional paperwork and time for contractors. Contractors will, no doubt, pass on the cost of this requirement to the consumer. As such, there will be an added “up-front” cost for works falling under the requirements of DBPA legislation. That said, the long-term benefit of a properly scoped set of works should result in longer term benefits to the consumer i.e. “do it once, do it properly”.

How will we at Jamesons support you?

As we are sure you can appreciate, things start to get complex when new legislation is introduced to any process.

As managing agents, our role is to ensure you benefit from the protections afforded to you by legislation.

Should your strata scheme need to embark on any major works, our process includes;

  1. Imbedding additional wording within our template work orders / quote requests to remind contractors of their obligations under the DBPA; and
  2. Upon receipt of quotes / invoices, alerting your contractor that there may be a requirement to comply with requirements set out by the DBPA, and to seek their response as to how they intend to comply / on what basis they believe there is no need for compliance; and
  3. Alerting your owners corporation / strata committee of when we believe such requirements are triggered

Thank you for your attention to this important update.

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