Building Ministers’ Meeting: Communiqué April 2021

Commonwealth, state and territory Building Ministers met today to consider next steps on options to increase Australia’s stock of accessible housing and progress with the Building Confidence Reforms, including the National Registration Framework.
Aerial shot of houses and cars driving on a road through a suburb.

Ministers welcomed Senator the Hon Jonno Duniam as the new Chair of the Building Ministers’ Meeting (BMM).

Minimum standards for accessible housing

A majority of Ministers today agreed to include minimum accessibility provisions for residential housing and apartments in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 based on the Livable Housing Design Guidelines (LHDG) silver standards.

In agreeing to implement a regulatory solution, Ministers took into consideration the feedback from industry, advocates and the lived experience of members of the community affected by the lack of accessible housing. They also considered the findings of the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) prepared by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). The decision taken by a majority of Ministers acknowledges the costs identified in the Decision RIS but reflects their assessment that a regulatory solution will result in significant and lasting benefit to Australians who need access to homes with accessible features.

Ministers also agreed the ABCB will publish a voluntary gold technical standard for accessible housing.

Ministers are mindful of potential impacts to industry as they continue adjusting to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each state and territory will be free to determine whether and how the new provisions will be applied in their jurisdiction to minimise the regulatory impact on the construction sector.

Ministers have asked that senior building officials lead work with the ABCB to provide advice to support implementation, including any exclusions, as well as appropriate transition timeframes.

This outcome supports the states and territories with their responsibilities to increase the stock of accessible housing and provides flexibility for jurisdictions to implement in a way that best meets the needs of their communities.

The ABCB Decision RIS will be published on the ABCB website as soon as practicable following the BMM.

Progress on the National Registration Framework

Ministers were updated on the ABCB’s work on the Building Confidence Reforms, including progress with the development of the National Registration Framework.  Ministers expect to convene mid‑year to consider and decide on the remaining priority deliverables under the Building Confidence Reform National Framework.