“Shoebridge Committee” hands down final report

The Final report of the NSW Legislative Council’s Public Accountability Committee Regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes has been handed down and here is a link.

The Report contains significant recommendations addressing building certification and encourages the NSW Government “as a matter of urgency to provide the NSW Building Commissioner with new powers to ensure building standards”.

Significantly for us, the Chair observes in the foreword:  

“this report also focuses on the concerns surrounding private certification. It is clear that the experiment of the last 20 years of private certification has not worked. Many participants and stakeholders told the committee that the conflicts of interest inherent with private certification were not able to be remedied. They pointed to years of attempted reforms that so far have failed to restore confidence or integrity in the system of private certification. Others suggested that it was possible to conceive of further reforms to make the system work better. Whilst it is clear that the status quo is broken, and that public control of certification needs to be strengthened, the Committee did not at this stage recommend building certification revert back to local councils. The committee has instead recommended that this proposal be considered in a further inquiry we plan to establish at the end of 2020 to continue to review the NSW Government’s reforms into the building and construction industry.”

Recommendation 17 proposes “the Legislative Council’s Public Accountability Committee as part of its foreshadowed inquiry to review the NSW Government’s reforms into the building and construction industry and consider as one of its terms of reference the strengthening of public control of certification, such as returning certification to local councils.”

Recommendation 18 proposes implementing the recommendations, where practical, put forward in the report by Mr Michael Lambert “to improve the certification system as soon as possible and no later than within two years” and recommendation 19 includes the observations about considering returning building certification to councils as quoted above from the Chair’s foreword.

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