Disaster in the Construction Industry
In recent times there has been considerable publicity around residential high rise building failures, specifically the Grenfell & Lacrosse tower façade fires in London & Melbourne, and the structural failure of the Opal Towers in Sydney.
In response a public inquiry was launched which highlighted deficiencies in compliance with building codes and poor construction practices.
NSW’s response was to create a new Design & Building Practitioners Act, and associated regulations governing the design and construction of multi residential buildings (class 2) within the state.
These regulations came into force on 1st July 2021 and have caused major confusion and disruptions to the approval process for multi residential projects. All professional consultants and builders involved in the design and construction process of class 2 buildings now need to register under a new government administered scheme and submit declarations of compliance, a role previously undertaken by Certifiers.
Whilst many will see this as a positive outcome intended to “weed out the cowboys” in the industry, it is yet another layer of bureaucratic red tape adding to existing construction stresses.
The current building boom with its associated labour and material shortages has resulted in considerable increases in construction costs, often borne by builders locked into fixed price contracts. (refer to our recent article – https://leadesign.com.au/architect/construction-price-rises-imminent/). Expect to see the collapse of many more building companies in the months ahead, and a slowdown in development activity, especially in NSW.
Rising insurance premiums covering increased professional liabilities are also likely to impact the number of consultants willing to undertake design work on these NSW projects, resulting in fee increases to cover this new cost burden.
A perfect storm that may yet prove the remedy is worse than the disease.
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