Minister for housing and public works Mick de Brenni said that maintaining confidence in Queensland’s AU$46bn-a-year industry was paramount following concerns about the integrity of the high-rise apartment development in the neighbouring state of New South Wales.
He said that, whilst questions have been raised about the builder and certifier in the Opal case, it is the whole system that needs attention. “The building and construction industry in Australia has seen decades of deregulation, largely in the pursuit of productivity. That has created a race to the bottom and as a result, confidence in the building integrity system has been undermined.”
Sweeping reforms are being methodically implemented in Queensland to restore confidence, said de Brenni. In 2016 the government began comprehensive examination of the building and construction regulatory system and this was followed in 2017 by publication of Queensland Building Plan (QBP). The QBP sets out a reform program across the building and construction industry covering everything from building product safety, through to security of payments and the important issue of building certification.
“Queensland is much further down the path of restoring effective regulation and oversight within the construction industry than other states, including the introduction of nation leading non-conforming building product laws to ensure the safety of Queenslanders,” said de Brenni. “2019 will see a continuation of the implementation of the QBP reforms, and reform to building certification is a key step for 2019. During 2019 the Palaszczuk Government will be advancing several reforms that will strengthen independence and improve professional standards and compliance of certifiers.
“We will enhance the regulatory oversight for certifiers including making improvements to the disciplinary framework, we will end the practice of builders being able to shop around during a project to get the answers that suit them and ensure that the sector has a highly trained and skilled workforce.”
He said that the reforms will improve accountability and processes in the certification sector and restore consumer confidence.
The Queensland Building Plan also furnished the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) with new powers of investigation to ensure industry regulations are being properly complied with. The QBCC will use these new powers to consider the activities of the builder and certifier in the Opal case.
“Queenslanders deserve to expect their buildings are safe and secure and built to required standards with products that are fit for purpose, this is why I have also asked the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to use its new powers to look into the activities of the Opal builder and certifier in Queensland,” he said. He added that no government projects involved the builder in question in the Opal case.