NSW powers up Building Commissioner

Construction reforms watchdog to crack down on poor practices with enforcement powers to be boosted from this week to clean up the industry.

The Minister for Building Anoulack Chanthivong says he wants to rebuild integrity in the NSW construction sector, outlining plans to “weed-out untrustworthy players” who he called “grifters” and “rip-off merchants”.

Last week, the state government announced a major increase in the powers and the resources of the NSW Building Commission to the tune of $24 million.

“Laws set to pass parliament [this week] will mean that for the first time since the Building Commissioner was appointed, he will have the power to enter any apartment or free-standing home in NSW,” Premier Chris Minns stated.

The Commissioner will also have the power to uncover defects before completion of buildings and compel builders to fix them. The new laws also make critical changes to compliance and enforcement systems such as preventing and penalising intentional phoenixing activities, where a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts and replaced with a new company to continue the same business.

The state government says it will cancel or refuse to grant licences and introduce new responsibilities across the supply chain for building products to ensure safety and compliance.

It was revealed that between 4 July and 6 October this year, four building certifiers had their licences cancelled over fraud; contravening the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act; contravening certification legislation; and engaging in conduct that fell short of expected standards.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is our weekly news journalist and the editor of Concrete in Australia magazine for 10 years. She has been heavily involved in all forms of engineering since 2013; part of a 30-year writing career across a range of subjects and media.