A New Regulator for Residential Building in NSW

The Residential Housing Sector is witnessing a major overhaul in its regulatory framework from recent legislative changes aimed at fortifying the trust and reliability in home construction.

The Building Commission NSW will very shortly replace Fair Trading NSW as the regulator of the residential building industry in NSW.

  1. New Legislative Framework: The Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, which was passed in November 2023 is the cornerstone of these sweeping changes. This Bill reflects the government’s determination to reshape practices within the NSW building industry.
  2. Broader Inspection Rights for the Regulator: Marking a significant shift, the new regulations now permit unannounced inspections of residential properties under construction, including free standing houses and multi tenancy developments. This includes the authority for Inspectors to enter homes mid construction, assess the quality of the build, and issue directives for corrective measures or cessation of work where necessary. Non compliance with these directives carries significant penalties.This is a departure from the previous system where inspections by Fair Trading were contingent on a complaint being made by the homeowner, and places a new level of accountability on builders and trades that perform work under the Home Building Act 1989.
  3. Strengthened Enforcement Powers: The Building Commission NSW is also the new licensing authority, with powers to reject applications, revoke licences, or disqualify individuals from holding a contractor’s licence. The power to refuse licences to individuals previously involved with now insolvent building companies has been significantly strengthened.
  4. Expanded Inspection Reach: The scope for conducting site inspections has been significantly expanded. With this change, builders and tradespeople are now under constant scrutiny to ensure their work on residential projects meets the required standards. This aligns the inspection authority for individual homes with the existing oversight for residential apartment buildings.

The presence of the new regulator has already been felt by some of my clients, and I would be most interested to hear from builders that are affected by the changes as the new reforms continue to ramp up.

If you are a builder or tradie that requires assistance in your dealings with Building Commission NSW, reach out to me because I’m here to help!

Building and Construction Lawyers for Sydney and Newcastle

Ned Mortensen is a Principal lawyer with dual qualifications in both law and construction and an adjudicator appointed by Adjudicate Today and ABC Dispute Resolution Service for adjudication applications made pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999.

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The information in this article is not legal advice and is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your particular circumstance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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Principal Solicitor
Accredited Adjudicator (Security of Payment)