A new centre for excellence is aiming to identify examples of international best practice in building regulation and control from around the world.

A new centre for excellence is aiming to identify examples of international best practice in building regulation and control from around the world.

As many countries battle with building quality in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, the International Building Quality Centre (IBQC) has been established at the University of Canberra in Australia to identify building regulation and control systems from around the world which represent best practice and from which law reformers, policy makers and stakeholders from other countries can learn.

The Centre aims to provide a sounding board or a point of reference for stakeholders who wish to develop codes and laws which improve public safety, promote cost effective construction systems and sustainability within the built environment.

Set to be chaired by Honorary Consul Kim Lovegrove MSE RML FAIB, a senior construction lawyer in Australia and a senior law reform consultant to the World Bank, the new Centre’s board consists of law reformers from both the centre’s host country in Australia and around the world.

From Australia, board members include Professor Charles Lemckert who heads the school of Design and the Built Environment at the University of Canberra; Australian Building Codes Board chief executive officer Neil Savery, leading construction lawyer Bronwyn Weir and Royal College of Building and Australian Institute of Building director Professor Robert Whittaker AM FRSN.

Internationally, the board includes Mexico based Alejandro Espinosa-Wang, a private sector development specialist at the World Bank and Ontario based planning and building expert and World Bank consultant Michael de Lint, MA, PLE.

Lovegrove says the new Centre will be a world first, which reforming jurisdictions will use as a first point of call in learning from elsewhere around the world.

He cites multiple areas where lessons will be able to be learned.

Whereas regimes for professional indemnity insurance are under stress in many parts of the world, for example, France has system which has been operating sustainably and well for more than half a century.

In time, the new Centre will have resources which will provide a breakdown and synopsis of the French system and showcase features of this system which have contributed toward its success.

Likewise, those jurisdictions which have not experienced cladding problems will be identified and examined to determine which features have contributed toward the resilience of these regimes.

According to Lovegrove, it will take around eighteen months before the new Centre has a critical mass of published material on its site.

Once this happens, however, the Centre will have a menu of best practice resources for building control and regulation which cover a multitude of areas.

These include fire engineering, cladding, probity control, enforcement, insurance, culture, dispute resolution, import quality mechanisms and more.

Lemckert says the new Centre will develop international collaborations, bring together work experts and afford the development of world’s best practices to enhance approaches to the regulation and control of the building industry. 

Rather than reinventing the wheel, he says the centre would collate the world’s best and current practices and propose improvement in the development of new regulations and related activities.

At the moment, he says a complex and multidisciplinary environment which crosses multiple aspects of society and is characterised by different approaches to regulation around the world.

As well, he says both societal changes and the evolution of new technologies and materials can drive the emergence of different building styles, techniques and requirements.

As such building control approaches must be dynamic and responsive to evolve with and facilitate such changes.

He says the new centre aims to improve this situation through collaborative and informed approaches.