By: Adam Ioannidis

Our building cost consultants in Sydney feel that one of the worst things a resident can experience is living in a high-rise that is not structurally sound. That is what happened to hundreds of residents living in the Opal and Mascot towers in NSW back in 2018 when persistent and continual cracks in the apartment’s structure were identified just months after construction was completed, forcing occupants out of the building and their homes.

Since then, new legislation and powers have been granted to ensure future developments are built to code and that if they’re not, someone is held accountable and charged with remedying any issues. The new construction act can seem daunting to some, but below our specialists have curated some key points to know and how they are already playing a part in the NSW construction industry.

What is the legislation?

From the 1st of July 2021, Building Commissioner David Chandler’s construction reforms came into effect — the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021. These relate to class 2 buildings (multi-unit/story residential dwellings) and guarantee that the quality of the buildings is in line with regulations and Australian standards. Some of the key changes include:

  • Registration schemes for engineers and, design and building practitioners;
  • Compliancy confirmation by the BCA for certain building designs (processed through a dedicated online portal); and
  • The compulsory commitment that any defects discovered prior to construction must be rectified before construction begins.

How does this help?

The aim of this act is to prevent another Opal or Mascot towers incident; it is to fill buyers with confidence that they can purchase an apartment or unit and feel safe in it knowing that it has been built to the correct standards, that no corners have been cut in an effort to save on costs. Additionally, the other side of the coin is accountability and bolstering the structure/hierarchy side of a project. The act seeks to identify who will be held accountable should defects be detected and ensure that engineers working on the projects are registered, not just the architects and builders.

Professional engineer and design & building practitioner registration

One of the largest issues that preceded Commissioner Chandler’s DBP act is that engineers working on class 2 building projects did not have to be registered. This created an uncertainty as to who the structural engineer was. This is no longer the case as now all engineers who meet the criteria will need to be registered as of July 1st 2021. Similarly, eligible design and building practitioners must also be registered under the new reform. This is all to ensure the highest level of quality from the project’s inception and to instil buyer confidence.

Has the DBP shown progress?

Though it has only been less than a year, Commissioner Chandler’s construction watchdogs have already set their sights on a number of professionals including almost a dozen “risky” building certifiers and a structural engineer. The latter was referred earlier this year to Engineers Australia by the watchdogs for “structural issues” pertaining to Sydney’s Skyview apartment complex. The building’s developers have stated that four engineering groups have reviewed the basement structure in question, in addition to three independent professors of engineering, and that the structure is compliant with Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia.

The engineer under investigation has denied any wrongdoing; if the complaints are found to be truthful, however, he could be stripped of his accreditation. This is important to note because his lack of accreditation will not stop him from practising in the future. Commissioner Chandler has urged Engineers Australia to “hold their members to account” in these instances.

How can a building cost consultant help with DBP act?

Qualified and registered building cost consultants in Sydney, like those at Accent Estimating, can act as independent assessors, ensuring that all your plans are feasible to avoid any hurdles down the track. Our cost estimation services are second-to-none, we can review estimations to ensure there is no over or underquoting or provide our own quality estimations which are guaranteed to be completely accurate.

Contact a Sydney building cost consultant today

Accent Estimating provides high-end construction cost estimating and quantity surveying services to Sydney and Australia; with over 10 years of experience, you can rest assured that our team will comb over every project detail extensively to provide the best and most accurate cost estimations; we can also conduct comprehensive feasibility studies to ensure that all aspects are achievable. We can also handle any documentation or paperwork you may require assistance with such as progress claims.

Please give us a call on 0413 953 869 or fill out our online contact form today.