Frequently asked questions
You can respond to the surveys contained on each of the topic area webpages. You can also respond to the all-in-one survey on the consultation homepage, which combines all the questions from each of the topic areas.
You can click the “submission” tab on the consultation homepage and complete a submission form. This option is designed for anyone who wants to provide detailed feedback, or if you would like to respond to the questions contained in Regulatory Impact Statements. You can also email us directly at email@example.com, or send us your submission by mail to:
Policy and Strategy, Better Regulation Division
Locked Bag 2906
LISAROW NSW 2252
Attend an online Q&A session
You can participate in our Q&A information sessions online. We will regularly update details for each session on the consultation homepage.
key changes to what building work is intended to be regulated and who should be licensed, including:
expanding licensing requirements to cover trades operating in the commercial building sector
restricting the work an unlicensed person can do under the owner-builder permit system
making it a requirement for all licence holders to supervise the work of unlicensed people in accordance with gazetted practice standards
expanding the definition of ‘developer’ to better cover those who should be responsible for contractual, statutory warranty and insurance obligations, and ensuring a definition that is consistent and fit-for-purpose for commercial developers.
the approval process for building work by:
bringing all certificates that come after development consent through the planning system into the building system
introducing a new regulatory scheme for pre-fabricated and manufactured housing.
consolidating all fire safety requirements for building work, from the design stage, through installation and certification and to maintenance and annual audits, under a single Bill to improve fire safety
key consumer protections including:
clarifying contract processes for residential building work around variations and payment processes. This includes prescribing when payments can be claimed in relation to major work contracts
revising the statutory warranty scheme and the definition of ‘major defect’ for residential building work
enhancing the dispute resolution model for residential building work to provide a more time and cost-effective way to resolve disputes between licence holders and residential customers
extending consumer protection obligations to manufacturers of offsite construction and pre-fabricated buildings.
consolidated and strengthened investigation, information gathering, and on-site powers
remedial actions including undertakings, stop work orders, and injunctive powers
compliance order and building work rectification order powers
disciplinary action process for licence holders
demerit points scheme
increased penalty offences for serious matters
continuation and expansion of the developer notification scheme and complimentary prohibition order powers.
introducing new duties on persons in the building supply chain and additional Secretary powers around the supply of building products in the Building Product (Safety) Act 2017
making changes to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 to ensure inspectors are empowered to identify and rectify defects throughout the inspection process and developers are required to pay the building bond to rectify defects
strengthening the adjudication processes for building work payment claim disputes within the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999
allowing certifier bodies that operate a professional standard scheme to play a role in the accreditation of certifiers under the Building and Certifiers Development Act 2018
making amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to create clearer responsibilities for certifiers that will reduce the need to use powers under the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020
creating a cost-recovery mechanism for compliance and investigation work related to building work.
supporting changes made in the Amendment Bill for the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015
requiring more projects to retain money in trust in the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 to provide surety of payment for those carrying out building work.
Amendments to penalise people for falsely representing themselves as building inspectors and making the requirements for Authorised Professional Associations and building inspectors more transparent
Amendments enabling inspectors to impose an order to undertake a training or education course
Amendments relating to investigation cost recovery and corporate self-incrimination
Amendment to allow certifier to require rectification of defects
Amendment recognised competency assessments from associations operating with a Professional Standards Scheme for registering certifiers
Amendment to allow rectification of defects for noncompliance with the Plumbing Code of Australia
Amendment to allow dispute resolution for strata building work
Amendments relating to intentional phoenixing activity
Amendments to expand the use of the building bond for defects identified in the final inspection
Amendments to security of payment claims, retention trust requirements, adjudication review and powers of adjudicators
Amendments to impose responsibilities in the building product supply chain, to ensure products are compliant and fit for their intended purpose
Amendments relating to continuing professional development obligations
How can I have a say in these reforms?
The Department of Customer Service would love to hear your insights and feedback on the proposed reforms. There are three ways you can have a say:
Will my feedback make a difference?
Yes, once the consultation has closed, the Department of Customer Service will review all of the feedback and consider if any changes are necessary. Your feedback will ensure that the reforms are fit-for-purpose and make a meaningful difference in the building and construction industry.
We will publish the outcomes of consultation on the consultation home page, outlining the feedback received and explaining the rationale for any key changes from the proposals.
The changes I have been asking for are not reflected in these reforms
The NSW Government has a lot of planned reforms in the pipeline. The building and construction reforms are part of the 2020-25 Construct NSW transformation strategy.
The reform agenda has been significant over the last few years and continues to be. Reforms are timed to meet market needs and respond to emerging issues, and it is important that significant consultation is undertaken to develop and refine each proposal. We want to make sure that the reforms are effective and fit-for-purpose. However, we are always interested in hearing ongoing feedback from stakeholders.
For any topics that fall outside of these reforms, please submit your feedback via our Fair Trading website.
Why is the Department of Customer Service proposing to change Building Laws?
In January 2020, the NSW Government announced its six-pillar Construct NSW transformation strategy to restore public confidence and create a customer-facing building and construction sector by 2025. A central theme of these building reforms is the making of strong and safe buildings and improving customer protections.
The government has implemented significant reforms under Construct NSW, focused on creating clear lines of accountability when practitioners deliver substandard work.
The Department of Customer Service is consulting on the next stage of reforms, which seek to strengthen consumer protections and enforcement powers, ensure trade practitioners are suitably skilled to carry out their work, and all people are held accountable for the supply of safe building products and building work.
How have the proposed reforms been designed?
The proposed reforms are a product of ongoing research, co-design and consultation over an 18-month period. The Department of Customer Service (the Department) has adopted a co-design approach through targeted engagement with peak industry and consumer representative bodies, NSW Government agencies, local councils and other jurisdictions.
As part of this process, the Department has held seven industry roundtables, two focus groups, four written submission processes, one public survey and has regularly engaged with a regulation working group and surveyed practitioners onsite. Over 100 organisations across the industry have been represented.
This consultation is the next phase of the co-design process. Your thoughts and feedback will help inform our next steps as we continue to shape policy to reform the building and construction industry in NSW.
What are the proposed Bills and Regulations in this consultation?
The Department of Customer Service is undertaking a wide range of reforms for various aspects of the building and construction sector in NSW. This consultation includes the following proposed Bills and Regulations:
The Building Bill 2022 is intended to ensure best practice regulation of all building work in NSW to ensure that individuals doing building work are competent and licensed, consumers are adequately protected and building quality is up to standard, thus complementing and supporting the broader building framework.
The Building Compliance and Enforcement Bill 2022 is intended to modernise and consolidate the regulatory compliance and enforcement powers for the building and construction industry in NSW.
The Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2022, and the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Regulation 2022 will amend existing Acts to strengthen the legislation supporting the building and construction industry in NSW.
What are the key features of the Building Bill 2022?
The Building Bill will replace the Home Building Act 1989 (HB Act) following a review of the HB Act and is driven by stakeholder concerns that the current framework for residential building work has not kept up with industry practices.
The purpose of the Building Bill is to create end-to-end accountability for building work in NSW and seeks to consolidate and regulate several key elements of the building and construction industry. These include:
What are the key features of the Building Compliance and Enforcement Bill 2022?
The Building Compliance and Enforcement Bill 2022 (BCE Bill) intends to improve the building and construction industry's regulatory framework and provide essential supporting compliance and enforcement powers.
The powers in the BCE Bill will have flexibility to enable a proactive regulatory approach to be taken as well as applying a holistic approach for building matters. This will allow better allocation of resources and targeting of risk to ensure the best outcome for consumers by focussing on non-compliant and incompetent industry players.
The BCE Bill will replace the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (RAB Act) while retaining the powers given to the NSW Building Commissioner under the RAB Act to deal with non-compliant developers and serious defects in buildings. The powers to order the rectification of building work will be expanded to all classes of building where a serious defect may exist as well as the power to prohibit the issuing of an occupation certificate.
The BCE Bill also includes general powers appropriate to a building regulator as well as nuanced powers as required, such as for security of payments of sub-contractors and the obligations of owners corporations to maintain common property.
Key features of the BCE Bill include:
What are the key features of the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 and Regulation?
The Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (Amendment Bill) and Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Regulation 2022 (Amendment Regulation) are part of the NSW Government’s reform agenda to restore confidence in the NSW construction sector and improve the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry in NSW.
Key features of the Amendment Bill include:
Key features of the Amendment Regulation include:
When will the reforms commence?
The Department of Customer Service proposes to bring the various building reforms into effect in phases to allow relevant stakeholders to be adequately prepared for the changes and to help support the industry prepare for the changes.
It is projected that the proposed Bills will be introduced in Parliament in 2023. The Regulation will need to be approved by the Minister and presented to the Executive Council for approval by the Governor. This is expected to be in 2023.
The commencement date of the Bills and Regulations may be on assent, by proclamation or on publication. Once passed by both Houses of the Parliament, a Bill will receive formal approval (or assent). The Act will commence on this day or be the trigger for the date of commencement (for example, 3 months from this date). Commencement by proclamation will allow the NSW Government to delay the operation of the Act until administrative or legislative arrangements have been made. Commencement on publication will be when the Regulation has been published on the NSW legislation website.
Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 and the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Regulation 2022 (on assent)
While the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (Amendment Bill) and Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Regulation 2022 (Amendment Regulation) will come into effect on assent of the Amendment Bill, some of the reforms will have extended commencement dates.
The proposed timeframes for the commencement of different reforms in the Amendment Bill and Regulation are as follows:
On the day of assent of Amendment Bill
3 months from assent
6 months from assent
12 months from assent
Building Bill 2022 (on proclamation)
The Building Bill 2022 will commence on proclamation. The Department expects to conduct comprehensive consultation throughout 2022 and 2023 to develop the Regulation/s, which would commence at the same time as the Building Bill. Timing for commencement will be considered as Regulation/s are developed to ensure industry and consumers have sufficient time to prepare for the reforms.
Some provisions within the Building Bill 2022 will have an extended commencement period, e.g. provisions relating to the new licensing scheme will come into effect over a period of 2 to 5 years, allowing those impacted by the changes to make adequate arrangements while minimising any impact on businesses.
Building Compliance and Enforcement Bill 2022 (on proclamation)
Building Compliance and Enforcement Bill 2022 will commence on proclamation at the same time the Building Bill 2022.