Australian Construction Industry Requirements, Laws and Guidelines – How Do They Apply To You?

Not happy with your recent renovations? Blame the contractor. Sure, you can do that – many people do and sometimes its justified but what if you’d rather avoid that situation altogether? If you want to ensure that your new deck, shed or patio looks fantastic, there are definitely some things that you can do.

A carpenter is paid for their physical skill but also for their knowledge. A qualified carpenter is aware of the laws and regulations regarding renovations and construction. For this reason, people hiring carpenters often feel that there is no particular reason for them to be familiar with any of the laws or regulations relevant to their project.

If you have done your research, then chances are you have contracted the services of a good carpenter, however, there is never any guarantee and if you have hired a random contractor or a “handyman” your risk level may be higher.

Even if you believe that you can trust your carpenter, you should always protect yourself regardless. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) developed the National What Is A Qualified Builder Code (NCC) to incorporate all on-site construction requirements into a single code. You can check the guidelines for your specific renovation or building plans for yourself.

A hardcopy version of the NCC is available at various outlets throughout Australia for viewing. You can check out the locations near you on the ABCB website. You can also view the National Construction Code 2012 by purchasing a 12 Day (for occasional) or 30 Day Monthly (for short-term) web access for under $100 (Prices checked 19th January 2012.) See the end of the article for links.

Another set of guidelines that it is good to be familiar with is the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) in your council area. Depending on the size of your project, your carpenter may have been required to lodge a Development Application (DA). Prior to submitting an application, you should contact your local council to obtain any relevant Development Control Plans (DCP) or guidelines and familiarize yourself with them.

If you see work being undertaken that appears to be in breach of any of these guidelines, you can address the issue before the project goes any further. Show a copy of the NCC, LEP, DA or DCP requirements to your carpenter and tell them you are concerned that the work being done might not meet them.

If you aren’t satisfied with the response you get, phone your local council or the Building Services Authority (BSA) on 1300 272 272 and ask them to do an assessment of the work being carried out.

The BSA is a fantastic organization that actually offers Smart Building and Renovating Presentations. For more information you can call them, or check the link for their website at the end of the article. You can also contact them to find out whether there are any other laws or guidelines not mentioned in this article that you need to be aware of in your State …

Who Are The ‘Peak’ Bodies In The Australian Building And Construction Industry?

A ‘peak’ body is an association that has been set up to represent and guide companies within the same industry. They are like the governing body of the industry, but they are usually separate from the actual government. They are at the forefront of their industries, and their roles include:

developing and maintaining industry standards

acting on behalf of members when lobbying the government

keeping their members up to date with the latest industry news and policies.

As a priority, they offer a strong voice for the industry they represent. For their members, they are the first port of call for information, news, and concerns.

Below are some of the major bodies of the Australian building industry. The reason why there are so many of them is because they represent different areas of the industry.

Master Builders Australia (MBA)- The MBA is the peak body for commercial and industry builders. As well as promoting the interests of its members, the MBA provides training, building codes, and legal services. They also run professional accreditation schemes for builders in NSW.

Australian Council of Building Design Professionals (BDP)- This is the main body for architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, landscape architects, and planners. They are well-known for producing their ongoing ‘BDP Environmental Design Guide’ series, which explains best practices for their members.

Building Design Association of Australia (BDAA)- This is the main organisation for Australian building designers. In recent years, they have run ‘Building Sustainability’ seminars. Funded by the government, these workshops cover environmental topics.

Housing Industry Association Ltd (HIA)- The HIA is the top building, renovating, and development industry association. Udemy Home Repair Their ‘GreenSmart’ training and accreditation program is funded by the Australian Government.

Building Service Contractors Association of Australia (BSCAA)- The BSCAA are the representatives for the building services industry. Their members include cleaning, security, Alternative Careers For Electricians facilities, and maintenance contractors. The organisation provides leadership and services for its members, and aims to maintain the high standards of the industry.

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)- This council is responsible for writing the National Construction Code (NCC) series, which is made up of rules and regulations for builders and plumbers. Through the series, they address safety, health, and sustainability issues that may arise in the design and maintenance of buildings.

Australian Institute of Building (AIB) – For 60 years, the AIB has been a leading organisation for building and construction professionals. The AIB maintains the high standing of the profession by running training programs, accreditation schemes, and university courses.

Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC)- The ASBEC is a NFP organisation that represents those companies that are committed to environmental sustainability. Their membership is made up of industry associations that are concerned about the effects of building on the environment.

There are, of course, many more peak bodies in the Australian construction and building industry. It really is a complex industry! The associations we’ve listed above are the ones that often crop up in our day-to-day work as Sydney …