Industry news

Draft Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 - 2 Oct, 2019

In line with NSW Government’s plan to deliver a final Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 by the end of the year, a draft will be open for public feedback until 16 October 2019. The Bill comes as a response to the April 2018 Building Confidence Report compiled by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir. It was commissioned to assess the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia and provided 24 recommendations to improve registration of building practitioners, supervision, auditing and documentation processes.

The New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory governments have supported all these recommendations which will affect any building practitioner who has a vested interest in final building design and specification compliance. This includes certifiers, architects, designers and engineers.

The key reforms that have been proposed include:

- Introducing the concept of ‘regulated designs’, which include designs for a building element and performance solutions for prescribed classes of building work or a building element;
- Requiring that design practitioners who prepare regulated designs issue a compliance declaration to declare that the designs comply with the Building Code of Australia;
- Requiring that building practitioners obtain, rely upon and build in accordance with declared designs, and issue a compliance declaration to declare they have complied with the Building Code of Australia;
- Requiring that any variations to declared designs are reprepared and declared by a design practitioner if they are in a building element or performance solution, or in any other case, documented by the building practitioner;
- Introducing the optional role of a ‘principal design practitioner’;
- Requiring any design, principal design or building practitioner who intends on making a compliance declaration to be registered under a new registration scheme set out under the draft Bill; and
- Clarifying the common law to ensure that a duty of care is owed for construction work to certain categories of ‘owner’.

Of these, the majority have either been partially implemented, considered or supported. It is presently being rolled out across a limited number of building categories, including multi-unit and multi-storey residential apartments, but there are plans for the whole housing and commercial building sector to implement these changes. After the consultation period, public feedback will be analysed and if pertinent, applied to the new release of the draft Bill.

You can access the draft Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 here and submit your feedback via email to