Discussion paper: Independent Third Party Review - A response to the Building Confidence Report

Closes 28 Feb 2021

Opened 7 Dec 2020

Overview

In 2017, Building Ministers authorised an assessment of the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia. The resulting Building Confidence Report (BCR) noted that building surveyors are not always competent to review and confirm compliance of all building design documentation, particularly for complex and high risk fire safety and structural designs. In the case where the building surveyor doesn’t have the required level of competence, they may rely on the competence of the designer with no detailed review being undertaken. This introduces a significant risk of non-compliance.

Building Ministers reconfirmed the importance of this work at their meeting on 27 November, noting

“…that the building industry is committed to providing safe and high quality buildings that support Australia’s diverse communities. Building Ministers noted the importance of maintaining momentum on proposed reforms to support safety and quality and improved compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC).”

In response to BCR Recommendation 17, which proposes ‘that each jurisdiction requires genuine independent third party review for specified components of designs and/or certain types of buildings’, the BCR Implementation Team has developed a discussion paper outlining a draft model process for independent third party review. This model has proportionate actions tied to building complexity (risk) and uses the definition of complex buildings, which has been redefined following an extensive consultation process and supported by Building Ministers for inclusion in the NCC 2022 Public Comment Draft. This model acts as a means of improving building outcomes through greater NCC compliance.

It is expected that independent third party review would assist in ensuring designs are independently reviewed where the statutory building surveyor does not hold the necessary skills and experience for checking a component(s) of the design. The process would ensure design issues are identified and rectified earlier in the process, resulting in enhanced public confidence in the building industry.

The discussion paper can be downloaded below.

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Why we are consulting

The BCR Implementation Team has developed a discussion paper for independent third party review. The discussion paper defines the draft model process for independent review, including where to source third party reviewers, how and when the design review process is undertaken, documentation and record keeping requirements, and preferred terminology.

Feedback on the draft model process 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

Comments on the discussion paper are open 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.

If you have a question about this consultation, please contact bcrimplementationteam@abcb.gov.au.

Independent Third Party Review

Audiences

  • Building: Commercial and Residential
  • Building: Commercial
  • Building: Residential
  • Building Certification/ Surveying
  • Architecture and Design
  • Engineering
  • Plumbing
  • Specialist - disability access
  • Specialist - energy efficiency
  • Specialist - fire safety
  • Specialist - health
  • Specialist - hydraulic/plumbing
  • Government

Interests

  • Energy efficiency
  • Fire safety
  • NCC Performance Requirements
  • Building services
  • Disability access
  • Health and amenity
  • Sanitary plumbing and drainage
  • Structural safety
  • Water services
  • Technical specifications