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Residential Focus

14 August 2019

#Property & Real Estate

Christine Jones

Published by Christine Jones, Jeffery Shi, Divya Chaddha

Residential Focus

David Chandler OAM appointed NSW Building Commissioner

The NSW Government has announced the appointment of building and construction expert Mr David Chandler OAM as NSW Building Commissioner, as part of the key reforms arising from the Building Stronger Foundations Discussion Paper.

Mr Chandler’s appointment was made having regard to his over 40 years’ experience in the building industry. Notably, Mr Chandler is an adjunct professor in construction management, was employed as the Construction Director of Parliament House in Canberra and has been awarded an Order of Australia medal in 1989 for his services to the industry.

Mr Chandler’s role commenced on 14 August 2019. 

The Building Commissioner will be responsible for investigating misconduct within the building industry, overseeing disciplinary action, managing licensing and auditing, and driving legislative reforms. Further details of the purpose and roles of the Building Commissioner can be found in our previous article here.

The reforms the Building Commissioner is intended to drive include the introduction of:

  • the mandatory registration of building practitioners
  • a new industry-wide principle of duty of care
  • ensuring all buildings comply with the Building Code of Australia.

Further details of these proposed reforms can be found in our previous article here.

Notwithstanding the enormity of his reform tasks, the real challenge for the Building Commissioner may be resources. Given the role is only supported by a secretariat and not by a Commission with dedicated funding allocated in the budget, NSW will have little more than an advocate for building reform for the foreseeable future, and no way of overcoming the inertia and lack of resourcing inherent in the current fragmented system.

Authors: Jeffery Shi, Divya Chaddha and Christine Jones

In the media

HIA: Stimulus Measures Yet to Expand Lending for New Homes
“Lending to households building and purchasing new homes fell again in June to be 12.8 per cent lower in 2018/19 thanin the previous year,” stated HIA’s Senior Economist, Geordan Murray. The fall of 2.0 per cent in lending for new homes in June 2019 occurred before the effects of recent monetary and fiscal stimulus could take hold (07 August 2019).  More...

Construction recession deepens with sharpest decline in activity for six years
It is not that the construction industry has hit the brakes, it has been in reverse for almost a year and it appears to be getting even worse (07 August 2019).  More...

Ralan Group collapses leaving creditors $500m in the red
One of the nation's largest property developers, Ralan Group, has gone into voluntary administration, leaving billions of dollars worth of apartment projects in doubt. The Sydney-based developer owes around $500 million to creditors, including Westpac Bank and Melbourne finance house Wingate (01 August 2019).  More...

Construction industry cracks showing as major developer collapses
The cracks first appeared in the buildings. Now they have begun to spread across the industry as major developers start calling in the administrators, leaving tens of thousands of jobs at risk (01 August 2019).  More...

New home sales see first improvement since 2017
New home sales recorded a slight uptick in the June quarter in a move marking the first lift since 2017, reveals the Housing Industry Association (31 July 2019).  More...

HIA: Sharp and shallow downturn in building approvals
“Building approvals in 2018/19 were 19.5 per cent lower than in the preceding year, making this the most significant market correction since the introduction of the GST, stated HIA Chief Economist Tim Reardon (30 July 2019).  More...

RMIT: On firm ground: smarter building for stronger homes
New software to assess building sites could save homebuilders thousands by avoiding structural damage caused by soil moisture changes (29 July 2019).  More...

RICS: Sentiment continues to signal soft landing despite heightened uncertainty
Data from the Asia Pacific Commercial Property Monitor suggests that several regional markets are entering a period of slower growth (28 July 2019).  More...

It 'doesn't make sense': Judge blasts rule behind Opal Tower class action delay
A multi-million-dollar class action by owners of units in the notorious Opal Towers against the NSW Government faces a month-long delay due to a historical practice note a Supreme Court judge says "doesn't make sense" (09 August 2019).  More...

NSW Fair Trading: Findings from the 2019 Certifier audit program
In 2019, the Building Professionals Board, as part of NSW Fair Trading, commenced audits of the certification activities of accredited certifiers (07 August 2019).  More...

NSW names construction expert as Building Commissioner
The NSW Government has appointed David Chandler Building Commissioner, as part of the state’s reform measures for the embattled construction industry and will advise the Government on additional reforms that may be needed to ensure better protections for homeowners and purchasers, and lift building standards across NSW (05 August 2019).  More...

Unit owners hit with repair bill of at least $10 million to repair cracks in Mascot Towers
Residents in Sydney's evacuated Mascot Towers building are facing a repair bill of at least $10 million to fix cracks in the building, with owners set to vote on a special levy to fund repairs to the building (03 August 2019).  More...

Opal Tower moving day: No water, delays as builder claims 'exemplary' approach
A handful of residents moving back into Sydney's cracked Opal Tower are met with apartments with no water and an ongoing construction site — but the builder claims the building's repairs and owner-complaints have been handled in an "exemplary" way (03 August 2019).  More...

EA: Rotten & broken: why we need to fix NSW’s building sector
As the state’s building industry faces crisis, Engineers Australia says important independent recommendations that can solve some of the industry’s biggest problems risk being ignored or watered down (29 July 2019).  More...

Published

Australia Bureau of Statistics
30/07/2019 Building Approvals, Australia, Jun 2019 (cat no. 8731.0

Practice and courts

NSW Fair Trading: Security of Payment laws start soon
The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Act 2018 (the Amendment Act) and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment Regulation 2019 (the amending Regulation) will commence on 21 October 2019 (06 August 2019).  More...

BPB releases summary of key audit findings for 2019
The Building Professionals Board has released a summary of key findings so far from its 2019 program of certifier audits. Read more about the audit program, including the objectives and summary of findings. As audits continue, more findings will be added.

New dates for Environmental Planning & Assessment Act Updates
Councils, certifiers and other industry practitioners have more time to implement some of the recent EP&A Act updates. Changes affect new provisions for building and subdivision certification, Local Strategic Planning Statements for councils in the Greater Sydney Region and Community Participation Plans.

Cases

Victorian Building Authority v Andriotis [2019] HCA 22
Statutes – construction – statutory powers – mutual recognition – where s 17(1) of Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth) provides that person registered in one State for occupation entitled to be registered in equivalent occupation in second State where person lodges written notice with local registration authority of second State – where s 20(1) of Mutual Recognition Act provides that registration in first State sufficient ground of entitlement to registration in second State – where s 20(2) of Mutual Recognition Act provides that local registration authority of second State "may" grant registration on that ground – where s 17(2) of Mutual Recognition Act provides that mutual recognition principle subject to exception that it does not affect operation of laws that regulate manner of carrying on occupation in second State, provided laws not based on attainment or possession of some qualification or experience relating to fitness to carry on occupation – where respondent registered as waterproofer in first State – where respondent refused registration in second State for non-compliance with "good character" requirement in local Act – whether local registration authority has discretion to refuse registration – whether "good character" requirement is law based on "qualification" relating to fitness to carry on occupation.

Brown v Tourni [2019] NSWCATAP 20
RENEWAL – home building – adequacy of reasons – procedural fairness
1 The appeal is allowed. 

P&N NSW Pty Ltd v Milovic [2019] NSWCATAP 201
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – reasons – breach of warranty – failure to provide adequate reasons
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW); Civil and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2014 (NSW) – Home Building Act 1989 (NSW)

Geneville Constructions Pty Ltd v Leslight (No 3) [2019] NSWDC 404
Costs – building dispute – plaintiff successful on quantum meruit claim but not successful on contractual claim – whether there should be a costs order on discrete issues – Calderbank offer – whether there should be an indemnity costs order – appropriate costs order to be made Interest – building dispute – whether interest should be ordered in relation to quantum merit claim – if so, from what date should interest be ordered
Procedure Act 2005 (NSW), ss 98, 100, 101 Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), s 10 Uniform Civil Procedure Rules

Lilli v Building Professionals Board [2019] NSWCATOD 119
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – accredited certifier – findings of unsatisfactory professional conduct – disciplinary orders

Long v Metromix Pty Ltd [2019] NSWCATAP 198
1. An extension of time in which to appeal Gen 19/17520 is refused. 2. Leave to appeal against the decisions made in Gen 10/17520 and Gen19/25192 is refused. APPEAL – Setting aside of consent orders – whether agreement made under duress – whether renewal application misconceived. Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013. The Tribunal made the following orders in the proceedings on 30 October 2018: (1) That the sum of $6,700 is not due or owing by the applicant to Chady Antoun or Antoun’s Concrete Pumping Pty Ltd in respect of the supply of concrete

Cubic Metre Pty Ltd v C & E Critharis Constructions Pty Ltd [2019] NSWCATAP 191
APPEAL – costs of appeal – where Tribunal ordered that each party pay their own costs following withdrawal of application by builder – where sub-contractor appealed from first instance costs decision – where sub-contractor successful on appeal – where Appeal Panel re-exercised costs discretion but made no order as to costs – whether special circumstances exist justifying a costs order in favour of either party in the appeal proceedings

Georges River Holdings Pty Ltd v Commissioner for Fair Trading [2019] NSWCATOD 120
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – contractor licence – cancellation – application for stay

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Christine Jones

Published by Christine Jones, Jeffery Shi, Divya Chaddha

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