Architects demand overhaul of building regulation

The Australian Institute of Architects is calling for a fundamental overhaul of building regulation to improve compliance and accountability, and better protect home owners and residents.

In its response to the NSW government’s Building Stronger Foundations discussion paper, released in June 2019, the Institute made 25 recommendations covering the full building design and delivery process and proposed solutions to poor quality and poor safety in the building sector.

<!— /5912001/AAU_AU_MR_side_300x250 —> <div id=’div-gpt-ad-1490926265173-2-mob’> <script> googletag.cmd.push(function() { // googletag.pubads().refresh([gptRespAdSlots[0]]); googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1490926265173-2-mob’); }); </script> </div>

Among the recommendations is a call for developers to be regulated, including a statutory duty of compliance and ongoing duty of care to subsequent owners.

“Currently, anyone in Australia can procure and construct an apartment building,” said Kathlyn Loseby, NSW chapter president of the Institute. “No evidence of any education, of any experience, of any suitability or capacity, or of insurances held is required. This is completely unacceptable and must urgently change.”

<!— /5912001/AAU_AU_MR2_side_300x250 —> <div id=’div-gpt-ad-1490926265173-3-mob’> <script> googletag.cmd.push(function() { // googletag.pubads().refresh([gptRespAdSlots[1]]); googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1490926265173-3-mob’); }); </script> </div>

To date, most of the defects found have come from the speculative multi-residential sector. The Institute’s recommendations include enhancing quality and thoroughness of documentation required for safety and compliance; and introducing a statutory requirement for apartments to be built in accordance with detailed documentation.

“We welcome efforts to improve compliance but they must go hand in hand with significant improvements in the rules that govern construction in this country,” Loseby said.

<!— /5912001/AAU_AU_MR3_side_300x25 —> <div id=’div-gpt-ad-1490926265173-4-mob’> <script> googletag.cmd.push(function() { // googletag.pubads().refresh([gptRespAdSlots[2]]); googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1490926265173-4-mob’); }); </script> </div>

“Previously, we used to have independent and rigorous checks in place where an architect would oversee the design, materials choice and construction to ensure compliance. Over the years, this role has been whittled away in a culture that prioritises time and cost-saving over quality. We need this type of role back in the construction process of complex buildings to ensure there is quality assurance throughout design and development.”

Hence, the Institute is also calling for the introduction of an independent inspection and certification regime that includes a clerk of works and an on-site architect.

“As architects, we have a duty of care to the entire community, something that is explicitly acknowledged in the Institute’s code of conduct,” Loseby said.

More news

See all
Gene Sherman. Philanthropist, patron Gene Sherman receives honorary doctorate

Architecture and arts patron Gene Sherman has received an honorary doctorate from the University of New South Wales for her services to art and design.

The 5 Uhrig Road development by BVN. BVN proposes three-tower development in Western Sydney

A site at the edge of Sydney Olympic Park, formerly zoned light industrial, will be home to more than 500 apartments.

The Greater Shepparton Secondary College by Gray Puksand. Gray Puksand designs high school with ‘neighbourhood’ feel for Shepparton

A new school in the regional Victorian city of Shepparton will house students from all four of the city’s existing high schools.

The Wimbeldon House, originally known as 22 Parkside, designed by Richard and Su Rogers Architects in 1968, restored by Philip Gumuchdjian and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan in 2015. Australian historian wins Harvard GSD’s Richard Rogers Fellowship

The architectural historian and writer wins a three-month residency in Richard and Su Rogers Architects’ Wimbledon House and a US$10,000 cash prize.