Discussion paper: Mandatory Inspections - A response to the Building Confidence Report

Closed 28 Feb 2021

Opened 7 Dec 2020

Feedback updated 18 Aug 2021

We asked

The Building Confidence Report (BCR) Implementation Team asked for your feedback on Mandatory Inspections to improve building outcomes and compliance with the National Construction Code.

You said

We received 68 responses. Responses were received from industry associations, businesses, governments, educational institutions and individuals. Overall, there was strong support for governments nominating minimum mandatory inspections for both residential and commercial construction. There was also support to expand the minimum inspection types to accommodate regulatory and societal advances, and the way in which buildings are constructed.

We did

The BCR Implementation Team used your feedback to refine the Mandatory Inspections Framework to include additional inspections, an option to conduct virtual inspections, guidance on inspecting off-site construction including prefabricated components, and better defining the recommended percentage of inspections to be undertaken.

The Mandatory Inspections model guidance will be presented to Building Ministers for endorsement in late 2021 and is expected to be published on the ABCB website shortly thereafter.

 

Published responses

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

Overview

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) notes that there are significant differences across jurisdictions in the number of inspections required and the notification stages. This ranges from no mandatory inspections to very few inspections for domestic buildings. For commercial buildings many jurisdictions rely on the statutory building surveyor to determine what inspections are appropriate. This makes it difficult for regulators to know what level of oversight is occurring, whether it is adequate and if National Construction Code (NCC) compliance is being achieved. Understandably, the current process doesn’t provide the public with confidence in the regulatory system or in the compliance of constructed buildings.

The BCR Implementation Team has developed a discussion paper in response to BCR Recommendation 18, which proposes 'that each jurisdiction requires mandatory on-site inspections of building work at identified notification stages'.

The discussion paper proposes a draft model process that prescribes an approach for minimum inspections proportionate to building complexity (risk) as a means of improving building outcomes through greater regulatory compliance. The risk-based approach would also determine additional inspection stages such as those relating to specific Performance Solutions or complex commercial buildings. The draft model details the proposed approach and how it is anticipated to work in practice.

Please note: The definition of building complexity has been redefined in this paper, following an extensive consultation process and supported by Building Ministers for inclusion in the NCC 2022 Public Comment Draft.

The discussion paper can be downloaded below.

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Why your views matter

The BCR Implementation Team has developed a discussion paper for mandatory inspections. This discussion paper covers:

  • the process for conducting minimum mandatory inspections;
  • scope of minimum mandatory inspections including notification stages (timing), frequency and extent (percentage) of inspections;
  • roles and responsibilities of the statutory building surveyor and the designer in the process; and
  • documentation for inspections.

Feedback on draft model 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.

What happens next

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

Audiences

  • Building: Commercial and Residential
  • Building: Commercial
  • Building: Residential
  • Building Certification/ Surveying
  • Architecture and Design
  • Engineering
  • Plumbing
  • Legal and Finance
  • Specialist - disability access
  • Specialist - energy efficiency
  • Specialist - fire safety
  • Specialist - health
  • Specialist - hydraulic/plumbing
  • Students and apprentices
  • Education
  • Community and Non-Government Organisations
  • Government
  • General Public

Interests

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