Francis Logan

Francis Logan

Minister for Energy; Resources; Industry and Enterprise

    New Act aims to update WA building industry regulations

    8/11/2005 12:00 AM

    The State Government has released a draft proposal for a new Building Act which aims to streamline regulations governing the building industry and bring Western Australia into line with national reforms.

    Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan said the new Act would provide an efficient system for prescribing design, construction and maintenance standards.

    It would also provide a more effective system for handling building applications, registering building practitioners and certifying compliance with the relevant standards and codes.

    “Participants in the building industry have been lobbying for some time for a more contemporary and efficient Building Act which reflects national building standards and recent developments with the Building Code of Australia,” Mr Logan said.

    “We now want these key building and construction industry stakeholders to play an integral role in the development of the new Act, with a consultation period which will run to April 26, 2006.”

    The Minister said the new Act would replace the Building Regulations 1989 and sections of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960.

    Mr Logan said the existing laws had resulted in an ad hoc building regulatory system and lengthy delays in the issuing of some building licences.

    The Government wanted to maintain local government involvement in the issuing of building licences.

    “The primary function of the local authority will be to oversee the building approval process to ensure public safety and health, and to ensure risks are managed over the life of the building,” the Minister said.

    The proposed reforms in the draft Act include:
    • whole-of-State coverage;
    • all buildings to be covered, including those owned by the Crown;
    • giving a clearer definition of what constitutes a building;
    • having owners take prima facie responsibility for the design, construction and operations of buildings;
    • nominating licence-issuing authorities - local authorities, State government or special authorities - to manage risk, audit processes and issue building licences and occupancy approvals;
    • introducing contestability among suitably qualified professionals in certifying compliance with the Building Code of Australia;
    • introducing separate and streamlined processes for assessing designs for compliance and issuing building licences;
    • taking a risk-based approach to assessment of licences and inspection requirements;
    • allowing for inspection certificates during construction;
    • introducing requirements for obtaining compliance certification for all buildings prior to occupancy;
    • introducing registration requirements for a range of industry practitioners;
    • introducing a nationally agreed accreditation framework for building surveyors; and
    • introducing a process for the assessment and approval of building works carried out without a building licence.
    Mr Logan said the current building legislation framework in WA was about 40 years old and needed to be brought into line with other Australian jurisdictions.

    “WA is now the only jurisdiction without a holistic building regulatory environment that ensures compliance with national building standards and maximum protection for the community,” he said.

    “The new Building Act will be modern and easy to read. It will aim to establish a building control system that results in efficient, effective and quality outcomes for everyone involved in the building process.”

    Copies of the draft Building Act are available from the Department of Housing and Works website

    Minister's office: 9222-8950