NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler has confirmed that 20 per cent of developers are currently underperforming—and that they’re up for review.
Newly-enacted legislation has helped push NSW ahead of other states in the race to beef up regulation of an industry notorious for poor oversight.
The laws follow a key recommendation of the 2018 Building Confidence Report commissioned by the country’s building ministers, for state governments to take back authority to step on to building sites and intervene where necessary.
In this TUD+ Briefing, NSW building commissioner David Chandler discusses his sweeping new powers to withhold occupation certificates for apartment and other buildings, the powerful data allowing him to identify “dodgy” developers and the broader cultural shift towards compliance.
“I don’t think the ‘risky’ players have left town or changed their ways,” Chandler told The Urban Developer.
“Let’s say there’s about 20 per cent of those ‘casual players’, who aren’t protecting a brand or long-term public value proposition, we can now find them through a wide network of data and we are landing very effectively.
“We are now saying ‘developers, you make the big decisions, you appoint the designers, you appoint the builders, you appoint the certifiers and you need to make good decisions because there will now be consequences for bad ones’.”
Chandler said the “legislation-light” approach focused instead on leadership, and used all the levers of the sector, including the financiers and the insurers, as much as legislation, to drive lasting change.
“We have seen too many jobs out there where there has been a shortcut on the design, construction contracts awarded to builders at the lowest possible price and missing details on jobs in fundamental areas like waterproofing.
“That lack of clear design has created this cancer that has eaten away at the brand of our industry.”
Chandler’s initial two-year appointment has been extended a year until September 2022 and by then he will have delivered a business case for a “modern” building regulator to the state government.
Since late last year, the commissioner has conducted 56 audits including 45 pre-occupation certificate audits.
In that time, five apartment projects have had prohibition orders slapped on them, barring people who have purchased dwellings in the buildings from moving in.