The introduction next month of private sector certification of building projects is being hailed as a big opportunity for the industry. However there is concern about whether the building industry and local councils are fully prepared for the change, despite the start date twice being postponed.
There is also concern that some local councils, which currently perform the building certification role, may not be supportive of the new system.
The changes, which follow last year’s passage of the Building Act, take effect from April 2. They will bring WA into line with other states, and come more than 15 years after private certification was first proposed.
Code Group director Gary Cox said the changes were designed to promote building compliance from an early stage in the design process, and aimed to reduce potential bottlenecks when completed drawings were lodged with local councils.
Code Group is among several private firms positioning themselves to work with developers, architects and project managers, to help achieve compliant building plans.
Mr Cox said he anticipated numerous benefits for industry, including better service, more certainty, and a systematic methodology throughout WA.
“We know the processes and we’re getting that information out to our clients,” Mr Cox said.
Master Builders Association WA director Michael McLean is also supportive, saying the new system has “potential to be very beneficial to our industry”. He expects many industry players are still not ready for the changes, however.
“We think there will probably be a slow move to private certification,” Mr McLean said.
Mr McLean remains concerned that some local councils will frustrate the intent of the new legislation.
“A test will be the willingness of local government to allow private building surveyors to do the job the legislation empowers them to do,” he said.
WALGA president Troy Pickard said local government was fully supportive of the changes.
“There has been a great deal of frustration, however, at the lack of timeliness in information coming out of the Building Commission and the late release of the final regulations and forms required for the introduction of the reforms may lead to some delays,” Mr Pickard said.
Mr Cox, who worked in local government before establishing his own consultancy six years ago, believes private building surveyors can ease the process.
“It comes down to rapport with councils, and your preparedness to work with them,” he said.