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  • David Previte

Waterproofing Accountability in 2020

Earlier this month, two pieces of legislation passed through NSW Parliament and its fair to suggest that the waterproofing industry is going to be under the microscope as a result.

The two acts are the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2020 and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2020. Both of which form the first wave in the changes that will come into effect to give greater powers to the NSW Building Commissioner and his growing team of Compliance Officers.

Some of the outlined requirements have already come into effect, while other requirements are still 12 months away. Then there are requirements which we may not know for another couple of months until the relevant Regulations are released.

So what is changing?

Everyone is accountable for one. Developers, builders, designers, engineers, certifiers and subcontractors are all to be held more accountable in the way they do business. The 'extension of duty of care' is already active under the Design legislation in that a "person who carries out construction work has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid economic loss caused by defects". Then under the Residential Apartment legislation, the government will have the powers come September to investigate, take samples and order rectification to 'serious defects'.

For waterproofers, as with other trades, waterproofing is considered a 'building element' and that its installation is considered 'specialist work'. The fact that waterproofing is listed as the second example of building elements, ahead of structural foundations, electrical and plumbing and second only to fire safety systems provides some insight into where it sits on the list of items to watch for the Government regulator.

All those carrying out building work will need to be registered with the Government to become a 'Registered Specialist Practitioner'. Registration will be for one, three or five-year periods and some level of training (CPD - continuing professional development) may be required. Once the legislation is enacted, anyone found to be on site and not being registered faces a $55,000.00 fine.

Where it is not rectified, disciplinary action may also apply for work "that has fallen short of the standard of competence, diligence and integrity that a member of the public is entitled to expect of a reasonably competent practitioner."

When does it come into effect?

  • Design and Building Practitioners Bill - Part 4 (extension of duty of care) - 11 June 2020 and retrospective 10 years

  • Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill - 01 September 2020

  • Design and Building Practitioners Bill - majority of Bill - 01 July 2021

  • Design and Building Practitioners Bill - specialist work requirements - TBA; it should be in line or after the rest of the Design legislation comes into effect but it could be at any time

  • Then there will be "any other matter prescribed by the regulations" which we should know more about by September.

These new regulations apply significant accountability and liability to designers and building practitioners that could lead to significant penalties when found lacking. At Waterproofing Integrity, we recognise that every project is unique and we work together with our clients to develop a quality control regime targeting their specific needs. Waterproofing Integrity offers independent quality control testing of waterproofing membranes to ensure compliance with standards and manufacturer's specifications to minimise issues in waterproofing applications.

Do you want to implement a waterproofing quality control regime? Call 1300 025 944 or complete our Contact Form to find out how today.

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