The Australian Building Codes Board has just announced making future editions of the National Construction Code (NCC), which includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA), available free online.

The Australian Building Ministers’ Forum meeting in Sydney on May 30, 2014 agreed in principle to make the 2015 NCC and future editions freely available online, with details to be finalised in the coming months.

It is expected that once the $400,000 annual price tag is removed, the number of plumbers and builders who use the NCC/BCA nationally will increase from the current level of around 12,000 to more than 200,000.

This is a common sense decision that can only improve the industry. It may go a long way toward better informing builders when they are confronted with unregistered building consultants who can sometimes use quotes from the BCA that may not necessarily be accurate but can have adverse outcomes.

In Victoria, the growth in the building consultancy area has been extraordinary over the past few years due to the failed BWI regime, and again we have entities that conduct themselves at each end of the scale. Some of these are referred to as builder bashers, while others can be consumer bashers and those in the middle may actually provide a service to the industry.

Yet again, this segment of the industry shines a light on the need for practitioners in Victoria to be licensed and accountable under a one-stop shop regime as promised by Government.

However, there remains resistance from the state’s regulatory authority (the VBA) to adopt this position, which makes it akin to driving a car with only three wheels.

The one-stop shop is a must and the new system will be unworkable if all components do not fall under this principle.

There is no doubt the government ministers have the intent of a holistic regime, but the reality is suggesting otherwise as some with position and power feel current arrangements are sufficient and should at least remain while segments of the new regime are implemented.

If the state regulator adopts this position, there is no doubt the new regime will fail. A holistic approach is the only method to achieve the outcomes required to deliver a compliant industry that delivers genuine consumer protection.