2017 news and views

26 Nov 2017 12:34 pm | admin-admin

Meeting Announcement Notes From November 2016

  1. Guide to Standards and Tolerances.

Guides to Standards and tolerances are not a statutory document in NSW. The minimum construction standards as required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Regulations, and the Home Building Acyt and Regulations apply.

In addition to the NSW publicised 2007 Guide to Standards and Tolerances there are also Standards and Tolerances Guides from:

  1. The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (2014)

Link: http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRzrzVx5fQAhUDGJQKHQfLAeAQFggwMAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.qbcc.qld.gov.au%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2FStandards_and_Tolerances_Guide_0.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEyINtR-QQEZ9eO1pU9O_0dTSov0w&sig2=7iKp6toSfCC-5D5PibZgIA&bvm=bv.137904068,d.dGo

, and

  1. The Victorian Building Authority (2015)

Link: http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRzrzVx5fQAhUDGJQKHQfLAeAQFggdMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vba.vic.gov.au%2F__data%2Fassets%2Fpdf_file%2F0020%2F29063%2FGuide-to-Standards-and-Tolerances-2015.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEfc7_9wxgaSwLypxjU01tu4qd8zA&sig2=MyBoF-gZY2z824OkIX40aw&bvm=bv.137904068,d.dGo

Standards Australia through SAI Global provides a list called a ‘Guide to Standards – Building and Construction’.

Link: http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRzrzVx5fQAhUDGJQKHQfLAeAQFgg7MAU&url=http%3A%2F%2Finfostore.saiglobal.com%2Fstore%2Fgetresource.aspx%3Fpath%3D%2Fpublishing%2Fshop%2Fproductguides%2Fproductguides%2Fguide_to_standards-building_and_construction.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHXBWf1ALMt-lBAwPjmfYa4JCAHcQ&sig2=TvDOQPzYvgd-KIwTmoarNg

  1. Major Strata Law Changes

Link to Fair Trading ‘Major changes to strata laws’ page: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/sites/ftw/About_us/Legislation/Changes_to_legislation/Major_changes_to_strata_laws.page

Link to Strata Reform information seminars on Fair Trading Events page:


New strata laws will start on 30 November 2016. They have been modernised to fit the reality of living in a strata townhouse or apartment today.

The new building defect bond scheme will start on 1 July 2017.G

Many new requirements will not impact strata communities immediately. This includes allowing time for pre-appointed strata managing agents, building managers and executive committee members to continue in their roles once the law reforms start.

Some key changes include:

  • strengthening the accountability of strata managers
  • allowing owners to adopt modern technology to conduct meetings, vote, communicate and administer their scheme
  • the need for owners to review by-laws (strata community rules) within 12 months, which can be customised to suit their lifestyle – such as whether to allow owners to keep a pet by giving notice to the owners corporation
  • a process for the collective sale and renewal of a strata scheme
  • a simpler, clearer process for dealing with disputes
  • broadening tenant participation in meetings
  • a new option to manage unauthorised parking through a commercial arrangement between a local council and a strata scheme
  • a clearer and simpler three-tier renovations process, which waives approval for cosmetic renovations within the strata lot (for example, installing handrails for safety).
  1. Home Building Compensation Fund Changes.

Announcement on Thursday 3rd November from Victor Dominello Minister for Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation.
Link to the announcement:


The information available indicates that the legislation for the changes will be introduced in the first half of next year. I assume that the usual White and Green paper process, and for consultation on the proposed legislative amendments will be followed.

We have registered for updates and will express interest to be involved in the process as it progresses.

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority Reforms page for the Home Building Compensation Fund outlines the changes:

Link to SIRA reforms page:


Broker commissions will be phased out

The guaranteed commissions currently paid to brokers will be removed by early 2017, eliminating 15 per cent of the current cost of a policy.

Builder risk will inform premium pricing

Premium prices will better reflect a builder’s level of risk, resulting in high-risk builders paying a higher premium, and low-risk builders paying a lower premium.

Split cover will be made available

Home Building Compensation insurers will be able to offer a split cover product with $340,000 cover for non-completion as well as $340,000 cover for defects. However, the cover will still be offered as a $340,000 combined cover product for both non-completion and defects.

Premiums will be sustainably priced

The shortfall between the scheme’s costs and what is received through premiums is currently covered by the NSW Government. This subsidisation of premiums will be removed and over time premiums will be increased to ensure they meet the expected costs of future claims.

Allowing private providers to re-enter the market

The reforms will establish a framework to allow private providers to re-enter the market and offer Home Building Compensation products that meet or exceed the minimum consumer protections provided by the scheme. This will allow regulated competition and may provide builders with a greater choice of products.

SIRA will monitor the effectiveness of these reforms to ensure they are sustainable.

  1. Home Building Compensation Fund Changes-extract from Master Builders Association email of 10/11/2016 (received after the November meeting)

On 3 November the NSW Government announced a significant overhaul of the HBCF that administers home owners warranty in NSW.

Notable changes include: •The NSW Government is planning to exit the home warranty market within 2 years.

  • The NSW Government will inject monies into the HBCF to cover the current deficit; the required injection is in excess of $300 million.
  • Reforms will establish a framework to allow private insurers to re-enter the market and offer home compensation products. In order to enter the market private insurers will satisfy Sate Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) Guidelines. (These guidelines are still to be developed).
  • Levels of consumer protection remain unchanged i.e. the triggers that invoke the warranty policy, the 2 and 6 year cover and the level of home owner’s entitlement i.e. $340,000 will not change.
  • Premiums will increase in 4 tranches over 2 years commencing in March 2017.
  • Commencing March 2017 premiums will be adjusted to reflect the systems assessment of the builders/trade persons’ individual risk.
  • The cross subsidisation by low risk building sectors of high risk sectors will cease in March 2017.
  • New risk management initiatives for builders will be introduced, such as prescribed training and/or a regime of project inspection.
  • Broker commissions will cease in March 2017.
  • Between March 2017 and September 2017 the broker network will be substantially reduced.

Legislation to support changes will be introduced to the NSW Parliament in the first half of 2017.

The NSW Government has stated they will release further details around the changes over the coming months. Master Builders and MBAIS will participate in the advisory group to be consulted by the Government during the coming year.

It is important to note that between now and March 2017 builders and trade persons with eligibility under the HBCF will experience zero change in their user experience when accessing the HBCF system. Following March 2017 premiums will change and an online job application service will commence operation.

Master Builders will provide regular updates as information on changes to the HBCF come to hand.

  1. 2 Draft is open for comment

Draft AS 3660.2 Termite management – In and around existing buildings and structures – Guidelines from the Project Committee BD-074 Termites.

Public Comment Closing Date:   24/01/2017 at 23:59.

Link to page to review Draft and make comments:


Search by the closing date of 24/01/2017. Currently its the second last Standard closing for comment.

  1. New Australian Standard

AS 5203:2016, Protection of openable windows/fall prevention—Test sequence and compliance method released on 24 October 2016 by Standards Australia.

This is currently not a mandatory document however there appears expectation that this Standard will be adopted to ensure that the protection of openable windows meets a minimum Standard.

There is an “on-site test” method or “type testing” by approved testing authority under the International Laboratory Accreditation Corporation (in Australia these are NATA accredited).

  1. NSW Planning Portal.

The NSW Government is working toward all the community submitting development applications through the NSW Planning Portal for approval once the system is launched. This will also include all Complying Development Certificate applications and Construction Certificate applications being made through the NSW Planning Portal.

The NSW planning Portal allows simplified assessments to be undertaken to determine the development approval that may be required, if any.

You may the view the Planning Portal at this link:


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