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Ministers meet to boost national building standards

Building standards are set to be raised across the nation, following concerns about flammable cladding and structural cracks in buildings.

Building standards are set to be raised across the nation, following concerns about flammable cladding and structural cracks in buildings.

State and federal building ministers met with industry representatives at the Building Ministers Forum in Sydney to discuss matters including indemnity insurance and the implementation of the Shergold Weir Building Confidence report.

As a result of the meeting, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) will be expanded to include more representation from the building industry and be better resourced.

The ABCB will be tasked with preparing a national framework to guide the implementation from the Building Confidence report, particularly for highly complex buildings.

States and territories also agreed to work towards a coordinated approach on professional indemnity insurance, which will be developed further in consultation with the building industry in future months.

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Building also ministers called on insurers to meet their existing obligations and lift exclusions on professional indemnity insurance.

The Federal Government will provide clear understanding about the powers and responsibilities for individual states and territories to take responsibility for the remediation and rectification of building matters.

National framework to provide improve building standards will most likely come in the form of amendments to the National Construction Code of the development of other guidance.

Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the talk was productive, but he remained concerned about the Federal Government shirking its responsibilities when it comes to fixing combustible cladding.

“We’re working with the rest of the country to make sure people can have faith in our building system – everyone has a right to buy a property and know it’s been safely built,” Wynne said.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) has welcomed the prospect of national consensus on solutions needed to tackle the crisis facing the building and construction industry.

DIA National Executive Director Connie Kirk said the potential framework arising from today’s meeting of the Building Ministers Forum would empower the ABCB.

“Building ministers have taken a sensible first step to calm the situation and avoid a reckoning in the residential construction market that had potential to dent confidence and economic activity,” Kirk says.

We now have a platform in place that reduces the risk of a patchwork response and better allows consistent implementation of the Shergold Weir recommendations.

“There is still a lot of work to do, and we’d encourage every tier of government to work to an accelerated timetable in pursuing these vital reforms.”

Pictured:

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology;

The Hon Kevin Anderson MP, the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation;

The Hon Richard Wynne MP, VIC Minister for Planning;

The Hon Mick de Brenni MP, QLD Minister for Housing and Public Works;

The Hon Stephan Knoll MP, SA Minister for Planning;

The Hon Elise Archer MP, TAS Minister for Building and Construction;

Gordon Ramsay MLA, ACT Minister for Building Quality Improvement;

The Hon Eva Lawler MLA, NT Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics;

Brett Mace, Australian Institute of Building Surveyors;

Jonathan Russell, Engineers Australia;

David Burnell, Australian Institute of Building;

Robert Whelan, Insurance Council of Australia;

Darren Pavic, Bovill Risk & Insurance Consultants;

Kristin Brookfield, Housing Industry Association;

Julia Cambage, Australian Institute of Architects;

Ken Morrison, Property Council of Australia;

Andrew Lumsden and Roxane Marcelle-Shaw, Professional Standards Councils;

Bronwyn Weir, co-author of the Building Confidence Report;

Fiona Doherty, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors;

Scott Williams, Fire Protection Association Australia;

Denita Wawn, Master Builders Australia;

Nicola Grayson, Consult Australia;

Benjamin McDonald, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

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