The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 is coming into effect - july 1st
The DBP Act covers class 2 buildings and buildings that include a class 2 part. In conjunction with the Residential Apartment Buildings
What are some examples of class 2 buildings?
Multi-unit, multi-storey residential apartments Single-storey dwellings that are attached and have common space below Mixed-use development
Why was the legislation introduced and what does it hope to achieve?
The DBP Act imposes obligations on construction industry professionals to design and build in accordance with the Building Code of Australia. The scheme helps to prevent defects in building work and provides enforcement powers to the Secretary of the Department of Customer Service to maintain effective oversight of building work in NSW.
Becoming registered to work on class 2 buildings
In place from 1 July 2021, the new scheme will introduce changes to the construction industry with the intention of restoring consumer confidence. The scheme will help put to rest community concerns about the vulnerability of residential homeowners to building defects.
The Act will focus on works on Class 2 buildings and require a design to be prepared by a registered, competent Design Practitioner before any building can commence. This means:
- Design and building work must be signed off by registered, competent Design and Building Practitioners.
- Designs for building elements and performance solutions and declarations that the designs and building work meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and other prescribed standards must be lodged on the NSW Planning Portal.
- Professional Engineering work on a class 2 building must be prepared by someone registered or supervised by someone who registered.
- Regulated design needs to be compliant and must be coordinated by a Design Practitioner. Coordination is required to ensure all building elements have been designed to the relevant standards and do not require on-site variations to be made.
The scheme requires a design must be fully compliant and declared compliant with the BCA and relevant Standards before it is submitted to the Planning Portal. What this means for Designers is additional checks and certification and fully detailed development at the earliest stages of the program.
This scheme will minimise on-the-fly building decisions being constructed outside of approved plans. Where the variation relates to a building element or performance solution, the variation must be prepared by a registered Design Practitioner. Once this variation is complete, the registered Design Practitioner will make a design compliance declaration for that variation until work can recommence.
The new scheme aims to reduce reliance on variations by requiring high-quality designs to be prepared before construction begins. The intention is to eliminate the preparation of uncoordinated design work which should reduce the need for variations after building commences.
Statutory obligations for Designers, Engineers & Building Practitioners
Statutory obligations, and the obligations of others involved in a project, under the DBP legislation are:
1. Registration for Design and building Practitioners and Professional Engineers
2. Compliance Declarations for regulated designs and Building Work
3. Lodgement requirements for regulated and compliance declarations
4. Ongoing continuing professional development
5. Insurance requirements
6. Compliance with a code of practice
7. Requirements for keeping records
The new process of Design THEN Construct:
1, Design Practitioners must prepare regulated designs
2, Make design compliance declaration
3, Lodge designs and declaration on NSE Planning Portal
4, Commence Building Work as per regulated designs
5, Declare and Lodge any Variations to regulated designs within 1 day of any variation to building works.
6, Lodge Expected Completion Notice 6-12 months before completion
7, Make Building Compliance Declaration
8, Lodge Documents and declarations on NSW Planning Portal
9, Lodge Strata Bond where applicable
10, Apply for occupation certificate
11, Lodge any varied documents, designs or declarations within 90 days of an Occupation Certificate being issued
This scheme is angled towards the consumer and rebuilding confidence in a construction industry that has been, more recently, damaged with stories of non-compliant buildings, defects and a lack of accountability. For practitioners adapting to the new scheme will seem a tedious task as another layer of documentation is added to an already complex system. However, the additional compliance checks will rebuild a shattered system and restore confidence amongst home owners and developers in NSW.
Check out this online calculator developed by the UNSW to help navigate defect resolutions in Strata Property.