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Preparing for NSW Design & Building Practitioners Regulation

New regulations for constructing Class 2 buildings take effect in NSW 1 July 2021. Find out how to prepare for registration as a building practitioner.

The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021 takes effect on July 1 2021. The new rules create significant change for people undertaking any Class 2 building projects in NSW.

What are the main requirements?

The following requirements will apply for all work captured by the legislation, where the construction certificate (CC) or complying development certificate (CDC) is issued after 1 July 2021:

  • Registered designers providing compliance declarations for regulated designs, prior to construction certificate. 20 classes of design registration exist, including architecture, building design and forms of engineering design.
  • Registered builders (generally the principal contractor) submitting all design plans and declarations, ensuring construction to those designs, ensuring variations are reviewed and declared by a registered designer, and making compliance declarations for completed regulated building work prior to application for occupation certificate.
  • Registered engineers carrying out one of the regulated areas of engineering in relation to a Class 2 building, or building containing Class 2 part. Some forms of design registration also require engineering registration. 

The notification of intended application for Occupation Certificate also applies to these buildings under the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020.

What work is captured by the legislation?

  • All Class 2 building projects will need to comply with the new requirements. This includes Class 2 buildings of all shapes and sizes - including mixed-use developments, low rise apartments, walk up townhouses with shared garages, and some granny flat developments.
  • For mixed-use buildings comprising Class 2, 3 and 6 parts, the requirements will also apply to the Class 3 and 6 parts.
  • The legislation defines regulated designs and building elements including:
    • Fire safety systems
    • Waterproofing
    • Building Structure
    • Building Enclosure
    • Building Services

Regulated Design Guidance Material, a Particulars for Regulated Designs Order and forms and templates for submission have been published containing more detail.

Further information on what is captured as engineering work has also been published in the Guidance on Professional Engineering Work.

What about building projects already underway?

If your CC or CDC was issued prior to 1 July 2021, the requirements link to the construction commencement date:

  • For construction commenced prior to 1 July 2021
    • All designs for the building under construction must be submitted on the Planning Portal before making an application for an OC
    • Practitioner registration is not required
  • For construction to commence on or after 1 July 2021, then prior to commencing construction: 
    • All regulated designs must be reviewed and declared as compliant with the BCA by a registered design practitioner
    • The builder must make application to be a registered building practitioner
    • The designs and design declarations must be submitted on the Planning Portal
    • Variation control, contractor document, and building compliance declaration processes must be followed
  • What if the CC is amended after 1 July 2021 with work already commenced?
    • The builder should make an application for registration to declare any works under the new CC, or seek to engage another registered builder to declare those works.

Can I keep working after 1 July 2021?

You must submit an application if the work you conduct requires you to be registered.

A transition period for registration will apply up until 31 December 2021. During this time a practitioner who has submitted a full application via Service NSW will be “deemed” registered and can continue working while the application is assessed.

How can I prepare for registration?

It is important you prepare for registration ahead of time, so you are ready to submit as soon as possible. Make sure you do the following:

  • Check the eligibility criteria for your class of registration on the Fair Trading website.
  • Gather proof of identification and evidence of recent relevant experience (generally 5 years on Class 2, 3 or 9c buildings within the last 10 years), plus copies of any licences and qualifications required.
  • Designers and builders are required to complete these training courses on Construct NSW TAFE portal:
    • The Value of Australian Standards
    • Navigating the Design and Building Practitioner Legislation
  • Complete a national police check.
  • Check the registration fees applicable to your application

Do I need additional insurance?

Not at this point in time. Additional insurance requirements are captured in the Act and Regulation, but do not commence until 1 July 2022.

To find out more, contact HIA’s Building Services team.

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