Building Reform Implementation: Independent Third- Party Review of Structural Designs

The Territory Labor Government is prioritising reforms to building regulations to give our community even greater confidence in the local building industry.

The Territory’s construction industry supports local jobs and creates homes for Territorians. We want to make sure, when Territorians make their biggest investment, they feel safe in their homes, and are confident it has been designed and built to a quality standard that meets the National Construction Code.

From 31 January 2022, the requirement for Independent Third Party Review (ITPR) of Structural Designs of significant and complex buildings – including residential buildings over three storeys – will come into effect.

These reforms build on the work we have done to implement the recommendations in the National Building Confidence Report, and will improve regulatory compliance and quality-building outcomes for Territory homeowners and investors.

The introduction of Independent Third Party Reviews means any significant and complex building work is required to have its structural design reviewed by another qualified, experienced and independent structural engineer before a building permit can be issued by a building certifier.

This risk-based approach will ensure the right resources, costs, time and effort, are directed at the buildings where the risk of non-compliance is greatest.

Under this reform, any design issues would be identified and rectified earlier in the process, resulting in more robust, transparent and independent reviews of building designs, enhancing public confidence in the building industry and the resulting building.

The implementation of an Independent Third Party Review of Structural Designs within the NT regulatory building framework is consistent with the model developed by the Australian Building Code Board and is endorsed by the Building Advisory Committee, and specifically includes:

A certification process, which will be informed by risk;The review must be undertaken by an NT registered certifying structural engineer with certain qualifications; and A building certifier must consider the Independent Third Party Review before making a decision on the building permit application.

The Territory Government continues to work in close consultation with the construction industry to develop and progress priority reforms targeting key issues, with further reforms to the building industry including:

Establishing a framework for continuing professional development for building practitioners;Creating a new category of registration for commercial builders;Increasing capacity for undertaking physical audits on residential and other buildings; and Increasing civil penalties for disciplinary action taken by Building Practitioners Board.

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