Discussion paper: Building Design Acceptance - A response to the Building Confidence Report

Closed 28 Feb 2021

Opened 16 Nov 2020

Feedback updated 21 Dec 2021

We asked

We sought your views on how to improve the standard and compliance of project documentation as part of the building approval application process and for design variations made either during construction or in constructed building work.

You said

We received 48 responses, providing feedback on what should be the appropriate rules on:

  • documentation requirements
  • documentation and approval for variations
  • record of Performance Solutions on the Occupancy Approval
  • building surveyor assessment, and
  • implementation. 

We did

The BCR Implementation Team used your feedback to inform a model guide on Design acceptance.

The model guide was endorsed by Building Ministers and is available for state and territory consideration and implementation.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


In 2017, Building Minsters authorised an assessment of the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia. Amongst other recommendations the resulting Building Confidence Report (BCR) recommended that there be a statutory duty on design practitioners to prepare documentation that demonstrates compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC). It also recommended a more robust approach to third party review of designs, and to the documentation and approval of Performance Solutions and design variations. Building Ministers tasked the Australian Building Codes Board’s BCR Implementation Team with developing responses to each of the report’s recommendations.

Recommendations 13-16 of the BCR, cover the process of design documentation, including the development and documentation of Performance Solutions and variations to approved documentation. The relevant recommendations specifically state:

  • Recommendation 13: That each jurisdiction requires building approval documentation to be prepared by appropriate categories of registered practitioners, demonstrating that the proposed building complies with the NCC. 
  • Recommendation 14: That each jurisdiction sets out the information which must be included in Performance Solutions, specifying in occupancy permits the circumstances in which Performance Solutions have been used and for what purpose.
  • Recommendation 15: That each jurisdiction provides a transparent and robust process for the approval of Performance Solutions for constructed building work.
  • Recommendation 16: That each jurisdiction provides for a building compliance process which incorporates clear obligations for the approval of amended documentation by the appointed building surveyor throughout a project.

In response to these recommendation, the BCR Implementation Team has developed a discussion paper to seek feedback on proposed reforms. The discussion paper can be downloaded below.

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Why your views matter

The discussion paper has been developed by the BCR Implementation Team and outlines prposed reforms to address the four BCR recommendations.

Feedback on the proposed reforms will improve the rigour of the work by capturing the views of regulators, industry and the public, and will test measures developed to help increase compliance with the NCC, state and territory legislation and NCC referenced documents.

Providing comment

Responses to questions on the discussion paper are invited until 11:59PM AEDT Sunday 28 February 2021. Only comments submitted using the online form will be considered.

A preview of the consultation form is provided below.

What happens next

The BCR Implementation Team will consider the responses received from stakeholders. These responses will help refine and enhance the proposed reforms. Once the outcome of this process is finalised, it will be presented to the ABCB for its review and then to Building Ministers for consideration.


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