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The NSW Building Commissioner will now have boosted powers to stop defective buildings being sold to consumers, thanks to the passing of the Residential Apartment Buildings Bill 2020 in NSW Parliament this week.

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said the Bill will arm the Building Commissioner with a suite of powers to ensure buildings are constructed to a high standard, with robust offences and heavy fines for those doing the wrong thing.

“The Building Commissioner is now equipped with the power to prevent occupation certificates or strata plan registrations before defective buildings can enter the market,” Mr Anderson said.

The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2020 is effective from 1 September 2020 and applies to residential apartment building work. It is retrospective with a 10 year limit.

The legislation enables the NSW Building Commissioner, through the Department of Customer Service, to:

  • Prohibit an occupation certificate from being issued if there are serious defects or there has been non-compliance;
  • Enter sites and investigate building work;
  • Issue stop work orders and rectification orders to developers;
  • Require developers to pay the inspection costs.

If deemed necessary by the Building Commissioner, a developer is required to give notice to the Department at least six months before but no more than 12 months before a proposed application for an occupation certificate (OC). The project will then be inspected on a monthly basis in the lead up to OC.

Transitional provisions are provided for OCs proposed to be made in the first six months from commencement of the Act. Notification is required within 14 days of 1 September 2020.