ACT member update
17 June 2019
Since our previous advice to members, there have been considerable developments around the process of adoption of NCC BCA 2019 in the ACT.
The Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay decided not to issue a revision of the Disallowable Instrument 2019-55, preferring instead to attempt to resolve the issues through the issue of an Advisory Note. However, members continued to express concern that they remain unsure as to what they were required to do, particularly during the transition period which the DI establishes from 1 June to 30 August 2019.
Consequently, AIBS sought an independent legal opinion which confirmed the concerns raised by members. Last week, we wrote to Minister Ramsay alerting him to the legal advice and the ongoing lack of clarity which requires his urgent attention.
While the legal advice was sought specifically on the DI 2019-55, we subsequently become aware that in addition to allowing time to prepare for the introduction of NCC BCA 2019, the ACT Government is intending to introduce Variations which are to apply in the ACT.
AIBS is concerned about the actions of the ACT Government and in particular about the following matters:
- There is a lack of clarity about which technical requirements are to be applied in the ACT between 1 June and 30 August 2019 which has been confirmed by independent legal advice;
- The current legislative arrangement increases the risk to building surveyors in a heightened risk environment;
- There is work in progress to introduce new technical requirements via an ACT Variation without a fixed timeframe for implementation so that it is not possible to understand what will be required and by when;
- Consultation processes appear ad hoc and targeted rather than open and occurring within a proper consultation framework;
- Development of technical provisions appears to involve narrow sectors of industry outside of an open invitation to participate in this process;
- The development of technical provisions appears to lack evidence demonstrating a need, proper evaluation of the costs and benefits of the provisions and similar key steps essential to development of sound regulatory policy;
AIBS is continuing to advocate on behalf of members around these concerns with a view to achieving clarity, ideally by the immediate adoption of NCC BCA 2019 in full and by confirming that all work to introduce Variations will not be introduced outside of the process for introduction of NCC BCA 2022.
Meanwhile, AIBS is also advocating strongly on behalf of the profession in relation to the professional indemnity insurance issue. We note that there are significant numbers of ACT licensed building surveying practitioners whose registrations will be up for renewal. At the current time, we understand that these practitioners will not be able to obtain PI cover that adequately protects them from the risks they might encounter in the ordinary course of business.
Indeed, there are around two thirds of the total number of licensed building surveying practitioners in the ACT who will need to renew their registration before the end of this year.
We realise the lack of clarity around the process of adoption of NCC BCA 2019 adds another layer of unnecessary confusion onto the very serious situation posed by the PI insurance crisis.
We are working as hard as we can to assist you in resolving these issues. In the meantime, if you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We will keep members informed of any developments as we can.