Building Ministers' Forum Communiqué: August 2018

The Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) met in South Australia at the Adelaide Oval today.
Cranes in Sydney constructing new high rise buildings

Ministers commenced the day with an Industry Forum with a number of peak industry groups and professional associations to discuss their views on the ‘Building Confidence – Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia’ Report (Building Confidence Report).

The Building Confidence Report makes 24 recommendations fundamental to the effective delivery of Australia’s National Construction Code (NCC). The BMF directed the development of a paper that sets out an implementation plan for reform, incorporating feedback from industry stakeholders, for consideration at the BMF’s next meeting. The paper will focus on recommendations 9 to 11, with further consideration of recommendations 1, 2 and 13.

Ministers also continued their discussion of the national Review of Security of Payment Laws: Building Trust and Harmony. The BMF agreed to work collaboratively to consider ways to improve consistency between security of payment regimes across jurisdictions.

Ministers received an update from the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on the development of the 2019 version of the NCC, to be adopted by jurisdictions from 1 May 2019. NCC 2019 will be the first new edition since NCC 2016, following the BMF’s decision to introduce a three-year amendment cycle.

The BMF agreed the ABCB Accessible Housing Options Paper (Options Paper) be used for broad stakeholder consultations about options for the inclusion of minimum accessibility standards for housing in the NCC. The Options Paper is expected to be released in September 2018, with the expectation of commencing a Regulatory Impact Statement in the first quarter of 2019.

Ministers considered a report on the feasibility of point of sale (POS) regulation of the WaterMark Certification Scheme. The BMF agreed to pursue other actions to strengthen existing arrangements before considering POS regulations.

The outcomes of public consultation on the discussion paper on a permanent labelling system for Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) products was discussed. Ministers agreed that permanent labelling of ACPs is critical. They agreed to ask Standards Australia to develop an Australian Standard for permanent labelling of ACPs to be mandated through the NCC. Ministers also agreed to direct the Building Regulators’ Forum (BRF) to work with responsible fire authorities on the best method for making information available to assist them to respond to buildings with ACPs.

The BMF received an update from the BRF on the significant work being undertaken by jurisdictions to identify and address non-compliant cladding; and the SOG’s work to develop a report on the existing responsibilities of parties to meet the cost of rectification for non-compliant cladding.

Ministers discussed the issue of the insurance market for professional indemnity insurance for building practitioners, in particular for building surveyors and certifiers. Ministers agreed that an Australia-wide approach to the issue is required and have directed the SOG, in consultation with the BRF, to develop an approach for responding to the issue, including in consultation with the insurance industry and industry stakeholders.

Through these activities, Ministers renewed their commitment to working collaboratively towards a more efficient and effective regulatory environment for the building and construction industry.

The BMF will reconvene in December to continue this important national dialogue.