Options to improve and strengthen certifier independence

2 Oct 2018
Public consultation on the Options Paper – ‘Improving Certifier Independence’ is open until 30 October 2018.

What is this about?

The NSW Government is progressing reforms to strengthen and simplify the building and certification system.

The Government is seeking feedback on whether an alternative appointment process should be introduced for certain types of developments and, if so, which process would most effective at managing conflicts of interest.

The Government recognises that more could be done to enhance the appointment of private certifiers. The Options Paper explores the possibility of introducing new methods of appointment for private certifiers, by rotating who is available to be used for a specific development, to minimise the opportunities for these certifiers to face pressures that could compromise their ability to act in the public interest.

An Options Paper entitled ‘Improving Certifier Independence’ outlines three proposed options and is released to the public for comment until 5pm, 30 October 2018.

What has happened so far?

The Government is proposing to overhaul the Building Professionals Act 2005 with the the Building and Development Certifiers Bill 2018 (the Bill).

The Bill seeks to strengthen the certification system in NSW. It aims to clarify certifier roles and responsibilities, improve independence of certifiers, tighten licensee probity requirements and improve licensing administration, complaint handling and disciplinary measures.

The Bill also amends the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to introduce the ability to prescribe an alternative appointment process for principal certifying authorities to support certifier independence.

Public consultation on the Bill closed on 4 September 2018. Fair Trading is reviewing all of the submissions received, which may result in amendments to the Bill.

Options Paper – Improving Certifier Independence

This Options Paper describes thresholds (including if the development is a Class 2 to 9 building above three storeys with a total floor area greater than 2,000 square meters and is valued at more at $5 million or more), that, if met, would require the development to be subject to one of the rotation options considered by the paper.

The three options are:

Option 1: The rotation scheme

This option involves the establishment of an eligibility list with certifiers who are selected at random from the list, similar to a lottery system.

Option 2: The cab rank scheme

This option involves the establishment of an eligibility list where the next available certifier would be appointed to work on a development that met the thresholds, similar to a cab rank.

Option 3: The time limit scheme

This option involves enforcing a limit on the amount of time a certifier can continually work for the same client, and would require the certifier to take a three-year break from the client after a certain period.

Have your say

Your feedback is invited by 5pm, 30 October 2018 on the Options Paper.

Feedback must be received via email at BDCBill2018@finance.nsw.gov.au

Where possible, it would help us if you can please reference the question number if responding to a question in the paper.

All submissions will be publicly available. If you do not want your submission published, state this clearly in your submission together with reasons.

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