May 21, 2021

The final Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021 (NSW) has been released and will come into force from 1 July 2021. The regulations set out the new registration and declaration regime for certain building work and are intended to set a benchmark for building practitioners across NSW, to minimise the risk of design defects and ensure safety and quality of construction.

The regulations are made under the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) and provide details of the obligations and registration scheme set out in the Act. Our overview of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020, which took effect in June 2020, can be found here.

Whilst the Act applies to ‘building work’ generally, the new system for registration and declaration set out under the regulations only applies to the construction, alteration, addition, repair, renovations or protective treatment of ‘Class 2’ buildings and mixed-use buildings that contain a Class 2 part. Under the Building Code of Australia, Class 2 buildings are buildings containing two or more sole-occupancy units, such as residential apartment buildings. There is scope for the regulations to be expanded, over time, to include other classes of buildings.

The regulations will implement the following processes, amongst others:

  •    Practitioners who work on these building types from 1 July 2021 must register through the NSW Planning Portal. In order to qualify for registration, amongst other things builders must have a license under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) and have 5 years’ practical experience.
  •    Registered practitioners will be required to prepare and lodge declarations that declare their design work complies with the Building Code of Australia and will allow the building work to be compliant. Declarations are lodged on the NSW Planning Portal and must be provided before building work can commence.
  •    Registered practitioners will also be required to lodge regulated designs that contain up-to-date details of designs and contain specific detail required to achieve compliance with the Building Code of Australia.
  •    In order to maintain registration, practitioners must comply with a Code of Practice set out in the regulations. The Code includes various obligations including a duty to avoid conflicts of interest, confidentiality requirements and a duty to act in a professional manner within their level of competence.

The regulations can be found here.

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