NSW apartment blocks will be required to undergo annual fire safety checks under a proposed overhaul of the laws governing how buildings are certified.

The planned changes will include a stricter accreditation process for people in charge of certifications and more frequent checks of building owners who may be paying their own certifiers.

The move follows a review of the legislation that was highly critical of the way commercial and apartment buildings are certified and accredited as fire safe.

A coronial inquest into a fatal Sydney apartment block fire in 2012 found a string of individual and systemic failures led to student Connie Zhang’s death, including the building developer and strata manager’s lax attitude to safety.

Ms Zhang’s parents called for changes to building regulations after the findings came down last year.

“Certifiers play a critical role in the building process and these reforms will ensure safety and confidence in the system,” Regulation Minister Victor Dominello said.

The laws were especially imperative considering the construction boom NSW was currently experiencing.

The proposed laws will implement more annual inspections during and after a building’s construction, and tighter controls on who performs certain fire safety roles.

The draft bill will be available for public feedback next year.

  • About the only thing Minister Dominello is good for is hair styling advice. His lovely bouffant must have been first and foremost on his mind when he recently made sure that 'Hairdressing' remained an accredited licensed occupation within NSW. Several years before, the Office of Fair Trade, which his portfolio covers, got rid of the licence accreditation category for 'Building Consultants'. He now presides over a regime which will allow a person who has attended a combined 5 day 'quickie chippie' and Certificate IV building qualification from a shonky private training provider to obtain their building license that then allows them to build any size residential building project – including apartment buildings – without any requisite knowledge of how to properly construct them. NSW has the worst governance of all building practitioners in Australia with its 'one qualification size fits all' method of licensing. But it is heartening to know that when it comes to getting a haircut or a perm we here in NSW are being looked after by the most highly trained and strictly licensed professionals in the nation! Thanks Victor.

Bentley – 300×600 (Expire Dec 31 2016) – new ad