Status of building reforms


Status as of 30 June 2019

No.CategoryReformStatusNotes
1 Design and documentation Develop guidelines for minimum design documentation for building approval applications:
  • commencing with initial design documentation, with a view to expanding to maintenance documentation at a later stage
  • expanding to all classifications of buildings over time
  • starting with voluntary compliance with a transition period for moving to mandatory within 6 months of release of the guidelines.
Complete The Building Minimum Documentation and Information for Building Approval Applications – Class 2-9 Buildings Guideline 2019 (the guideline) is adopted under the Building Act for new approval applications from 1 September 2019.
2 Design and documentation Consider including some aspects of advice on high-risk building elements (e.g. balconies over habitable spaces) in the existing pre-DA process to alert people to high-risk features and things that may be incompatible with building laws, with a view to expand the range of issues as resources and skills increase. Complete After considering the findings of audits and inspections, known issues such as weatherproofing, and noting the increasing complexity of developments, advice to inform people of building matters they may need to resolve earlier than the building approval stage is warranted.

Information on high-risk elements and the new documentation guideline will be provided before (pre-DA) and during the development approval stage from July 2019.
3 Stage Inspection and Supervision Develop guidelines for builders for supervision and critical hold points with the intention they will be adopted as codes of practice under the Building Act. In progress  
4 Stage Inspection and Supervision Develop new provisions in the Building Act outlining the functions of the certifier and the purpose and scope of stage inspections, and supporting codes of practice. Complete New provisions complete, see particularly new section 17A.

A new code of practice for building surveyors has been adopted and will commence on 1 September 2019.
5 Stage Inspection and Supervision Enact regulations to require stage inspection information shortly after the inspection is complete. Pending release of new electronic lodgement system. The replacement system for eDevelopment will have improved functionality for lodgement of information throughout a building project.
6 Licensing Remove architectural and engineering qualifications from the mandatory qualifications schedule, with a transition period for applicants who have made an application prior to the commencement. Complete  
7 Licensing Implement a conditioning system for applicants with insufficient experience on residential buildings and revise mandatory qualifications in relation to evidence, critical stages and stages external verification of experience. Complete New mandatory qualifications instrument outlines types of building works experience required by applicants. Applicant licenses are tailored to relevant experience administratively.
8 Licensing Revise mandatory qualifications to specifically give the Registrar discretion not to consider references from builders with a poor compliance history or in relation to defective work. Complete  
9 Licensing Expand the written assessment prepared for the pilot for class c licensees to incorporate additional subjects, and include random result validation, and create assessments for A and B class licensees. Complete From February 2019 new applicants for class A and B builder licences must sit and pass an exam. Exams can also be applied to existing licensees at renewal.
10 Licensing Consider interviews conducted by the regulator for applicants that either do not meet the mandatory qualifications or have marginal results in assessments only. Complete In operation under Regulation 14 of the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Regulation.
11 Licensing Amend existing provisions for corporations, partnership and nominees eligibility in the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act and Regulation to clarify their roles and obligations. Complete Revisions made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2016.
12 Licensing Expand the scope of the existing power to declare mandatory qualifications to include qualifications for all entities that may apply for a licence i.e. corporations and partnerships Complete Amendment made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment 2016.
13 Licensing Require additional information in relation to the nominee and their understanding of their role and eligibility for appointment at the time of application. Complete Nominees will need to declare they have read and understood the new Guide for Nominees and indicate they are eligible to be a nominee. This may be checked directly with the nominee or the corporation/partnership.
14 Licensing Revise operational policies and educational materials to reflect the intention of the law in relation to the corporation/partnership’s responsibility to supervise their nominees and the work under its licence. Complete A new Guide for Nominees outlines the responsibilities of the corporation/partnership, noting the dual obligations in relation to the nominee’s supervision of the work.
15 Licensing Develop and implement a pre-application assessment for building surveyors licence applicants and for licensees who have transferred from other jurisdictions. Complete A new qualifications declaration makes completion of the assessment mandatory for all applicants for a new building surveyor licence from 1 November 2019.

The assessment can be applied as skills assessment for other licensees.
16 Licensing Develop and make available an online course for building surveyors operating or intending to operate under the ACT’s building regulatory system. In progress The course will be made available online in July 2019.
17 Licensing Provide a new ground for occupational discipline that the licensee is, or has become, ineligible to hold a licence. Complete Amendment made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment 2016.
18 Licensing Amend provisions for automatic suspensions on loss of eligibility so that they do not end after 3 months but continue as long as the ground for the suspension exists, if the licensee has not reported the circumstances to the Registrar. Complete Amendment made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment 2016.
19 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work Expand the existing statutory warranties to all private residential buildings or parts of buildings, including those above three storeys. Complete Amendment made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2016. New warranties in effect from 19 August 2017.
20 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work Amend the Building Act to allow regulations to prescribe requirements for contracts for residential building work. Complete Amendment made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2016.
21 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work Enact a regulation to delineate agency agreements from a building contract for certain residential building work contracts. Complete The Building (General) Amendment Regulation 2019 requires that from 1 October 2019 any appointment of the builder to act as the landowner's agent to appoint the building certifier and apply for approvals must be separate to a building contract for a new house and for a range of work on existing houses and apartment buildings.
22 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work Develop and consult on standard terms, and standard information for a building contract including explanations on common variation clauses and their meaning. In progress Powers to regulate certain aspects of contracts are included in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2016. Standard information to accompany a building contract is under development.
23 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work Consult further in relation to specific regulations for a progress payment model for certain residential building contracts based on payment only for work completed. Complete Further consultation was undertaken with bodies who supply standard contracts or represent people who draft other building contracts. This consultation is informing consideration of supporting regulations.
24 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work 24. To further assist to reduce phoenixing:
  • Expand the capacity for the Registrar to consider an applicant or licensee’s history, including the history of directors, partners and nominees, under other licences.
  • Introduce the ability for the Registrar and ACAT to consider whether a breach is relevant to multiple associated licences and take appropriate action in relation to those licences as well.
  • Increase reporting requirements for automatic suspension grounds.
Complete Legislative revisions made in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2016.
25 Project Funding - Payment - Claims and Retentions Increase reporting requirements for licensees in relation to insolvency. Complete Increased reporting requirements introduced in the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2016.
26 Project Funding - Payment - Claims and Retentions Review the response to the recent federal inquiry on insolvency and results of other trials of various models in other jurisdictions and continue targeted consultation, with a view to either conducting an ACT trial to fill in any knowledge gaps if required, or implementing changes in the ACT if Commonwealth legislation is not supported or has insufficient coverage. Complete The review found that existing trials and schemes provide suitable information on the operation of particular models for managing project payments and/or retentions.

Consultation and further work relating to security of payment will be progressed under Reform 41 – Review of the Security of Payments System in the ACT.
27 Project Funding - Payment - Claims and Retentions Review the effectiveness of ACT procurement arrangements for security of retentions held by contractors and progress payments on government projects. In progress  
28 Alternative Dispute Resolution - Residential Buildings Refine the proposed alternative dispute resolution model based on consultation feedback and conduct a second round of consultation. In progress Review of security of payments considered application of security of payments system to disputes with residential owners.
29 Alternative Dispute Resolution - Residential Buildings Consider adoption of new standards and tolerances for building-related disputes and complaints, including contractual disputes. Complete Based on consideration of such matters as practices of other jurisdictions, types of complaints, and the role of general standards and tolerances in a regulatory and legal context, it is proposed to incorporate new standards and tolerances for items outside the scope of building work in the Building Act into the new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system as advisory information. There will be further consultation on which standards and tolerances will be used in ADR under Reform 28.
30 Stage Inspection and Supervision Complete implementation of the risk-based auditing and inspection system for regulated building certification and building work. In progress Auditing system will also include compliance with new codes and documentation requirements.
31 Licensing Consider introduction of non-written forms of assessment after review of 6 months of operation of the written pre-licence assessment for building licence applicants. Incomplete Pending completion of Item 9
32 Licensing Implement mandatory qualifications for corporate and partnership licences, potentially including financial assessment. Incomplete Pending completion of Item 35
33 Licensing Expand mandatory qualifications for new building surveyor licence categories to include completion of the online training course. Complete A new qualifications declaration makes completion of the online course mandatory for new building surveyor licence applicants from 1 September 2019.
34 Licensing Expand licence renewal assessments for all licensees to include rechecking of eligibility and compliance history. Complete The new process includes criminal history checks and further confirmation of solvency status.

Compliance history for builders is checked and may lead to the builder having to sit an examination at renewal.
35 Licensing Consult on the findings of the review in relation to licensing, licensing categories and ‘contracting’ as a scope of work. In progress Includes consultation on licensing for design practitioners, including people undertaking engineering of buildings and building services, and people contracting for supply of new residential buildings.
36 Licensing Consult on the findings of the review of the ACT building regulatory system in relation to insurance and practitioner accountability. Incomplete  
37 Contracts for Residential Buildings and Building Work Consider expansion of rectification and other relevant powers to allow orders to be issued to people closely associated with an insolvent or ‘disappeared’ corporate licence. Complete Further information to be release following endorsement from Cabinet.
38 Project Funding - Payment - Claims and Retentions Review federal inquiry funding’s on insolvencies in the construction industry and associated response, with a view to fill in any gaps in the system if required. Complete The review found issues in related recommendations are being addressed under ACT reforms for construction licensing and security of payment.

Consultation and further work relating to security of payment will be progressed under Reforms 32, 35, 36 and 41.
39 Contracts for residential buildings and building work Consult on the findings of the review of the ACT building regulatory system in relation to building contracts and the residential building insurance system. Incomplete  
40 Project Funding - Payment - Claims and Retentions Conduct trial of project/retention account model (if agreed and required). Complete (NFA) Work under Reform 38 indicated a further ACT trial is not required.

Consultation and further work relating to security of payment will be progressed under Reform 41 – Review of the Security of Payments System in the ACT.
41 Project Funding - Payment - Claims and Retentions Review the Security of Payments system in the ACT. In progress The ACT review also includes considering the findings of the National Review of Security of Payment laws.
42 Other Consider issued raised by stakeholders during the consultation where supported by the findings of the review of the ACT building regulatory system. Incomplete  
43 Alternative Dispute Resolution - Residential Buildings Complete implementation of alternative dispute resolution model. Incomplete Pending completion of Reform 28.

More information

Ask a question or sign up for updates at ConstructionPolicy@act.gov.au or contact us.