Professionals in design, construction, building certification and project management will be subject to nationally consistent registration requirements if a proposed national framework for the mandatory registration of certain types of building practitioners is adopted.

The Australian Building Codes Board has released a discussion paper on a draft National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners.

The proposed framework sets out registration categories across design, construction, building certification and project coordination.

Within each category, the framework outlines the work which those holding registration will be able to perform along with the qualifications and experience which will be needed to qualify for registration.

Under the framework, the core discipline within design is the registered building designer, who will be allowed to design buildings and document design work using either deemed-to-satisfy solutions or performance solutions but will not be able to perform work in specialised fields such as engineering or technical design of gas, electrical, plumbing or fire safety systems.

There will be three levels of accreditation for low-rise buildings (level 3), medium rise buildings (level 2) or all buildings (level 1).

Beyond this, specialist area of registered design professional will include those who perform engineering design, technical design or ‘endorsed expert building’ design.

Categories of engineering for which registration will be needed include structural, mechanical, electric, hydraulic, fire safety and façades.

There will be also technical categories for plumbing design and fire safety design as well as specialist categories for disability access and energy efficiency design.

In construction, meanwhile, the core discipline revolves around a registered builder, who will be able to coordinate and deploy people, equipment and materials fo new building construction or existing building retrofit/renovation.

Three levels of registration will apply to single-residential buildings (NCC (class 1 and 10), medium rise commercial/multi-residential (class 2 to 9) and high-rise commercial/multi-residential.

Because of the different skills required for single-storey dwellings as opposed to multi-storey construction, those wishing to construct both types of buildings will need separate licenses to do so.

Within construction, meanwhile, the framework envisages that separate licences will be required for fire systems installers and plumbers.

For fire systems installation, separate categories of license will be required to install sprinkler systems, hydrants and hose reels, fire detection and alarm systems, emergency and exit lighting and passive fire and smoke systems.

For plumbing, licences will be needed for sanitary plumbing and drainage as well as water systems.

Next, there is building compliance, where the framework envisions that registration will be needed for building certification and fire systems inspection.

Within building certification, two levels of license will cover restricted buildings or all buildings.

Within fire systems inspection, licenses will be required to inspect water-based fire fighting and fire suppression systems; fire detection, alarm and warning systems; fire and smoke control systems; passive fire and smoke systems; emergency and exit lighting systems and special hazard systems.

Finally, the framework envisions that projects will be coordinated by registered project managers, who will have two levels of license being commercial and restricted commercial. Registration will not be required to manage single storey residential construction.

The proposed framework follows recommendations in the Building Confidence report prepared for the Building Ministers’ Forum by Professor Peter Shergold and lawyer Bronwyn Weir that states and territories require registration of practitioners in several areas and that these requirements be consistent at a national level.

Whilst power to regulate building practitioners with states and territories, the proposed framework aims to foster a nationally consistent approach toward building practitioner registration.