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myBIG View

The NSW Building Commissioner – Mr. David Chandler has well and truly injected himself into the industry system for the development, design, and construction of Class 2 apartment buildings in NSW. David Chandler is identifying consistent untrustworthy project stakeholders and ridding the industry of poor practice; this is positive for the industry.

The Commissioner is firing his torchlight into the dark corners of the building project chain for apartment buildings; like never before the contributors to poor building outcomes are being exposed and these include developers that facilitate shortcuts, the professionals that do not detail or specify, the contractors that are ill-disciplined in their compliance and some age-old poor practices.

We have received notice that consultation commences in the next couple of months for David Chandler’s powers to extend to boarding houses, health, and aged care accommodation (Classes 1b, 3, 9a, 9c).

The NSW Government’s intentions are clear that the current explosion of reform in Class 2 building is the foundation for what is coming for all classes of building.

If the Building Commissioner or one of his 30 plus inspectors were to walk on a single dwelling building site in NSW, the issues they may address include but are not be limited to:

  • inadequate drainage and waste management
  • non-compliant planning documentation onsite
  • no immediate access to the National Construction Code and/or the Australian Standards
  • inadequate documentation and untimely sign-off by certifiers
  • lack of documentation of variations to the original building plans

We certainly hope that the Commissioner’s holistic approach will bring change for residential builders for matters such as dispute resolution.

It is positive that 70% of building disputes notified to NSW Fair Trading are resolved at the mediation or inspection stage, but there seems to be is an imbalance in power when a client-initiated notification of a dispute to Fair Trading is afforded the full authority of the instrumentality while a dispute notified by a builder must be agreed to by the client before it receives the same force.

Having said that, it is pretty clear the winds of change will blow strongly for the foreseeable future and it behooves good building business managers and construction supervisors to review their current operations and test them against the eye of the Commissioner.

All sectors of the building and construction industry are on notice that the tough new NSW building and construction industry regulator’s reach will increase and if you assess your infrastructure, information resources, and/or site practices as vulnerable you would do well to introduce now incremental change over the next 3 - 6 months.

Craig Donovan,
CEO for myBIG Australia Pty Ltd.

Apartment Construction