The ambitious program of building industry reform which is being rolled out across New South Wales has reached another milestone as the state’s first dedicated building regulator comes into operation.

Led by Commissioner David Chander, Building Commission NSW has now opened its doors.

As a result, the existing Office of the Building Commissioner has been lifted out of Fair Trading NSW and now operates as a stand-alone regulator with its own staff, resources and specific focus on the building sector.

The new Commission is now a one-stop-shop for building regulation, licensing, oversight and enforcement.

It has a staff of more than 440 – well above the approximately 40 workers who were allocated to building industry regulation under the previous Office of the Building Commissioner arrangements.

It will be funded by a $24 million down-payment in the NSW Budget.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the creation of the new Commission represents a milestone in progressing building industry reform.

“In recent years we’ve heard horror stories about defects in apartment buildings but we’re turning the tide with Building Commission NSW,” Minns said in a statement.

“The Building Commissioner has made a start restoring integrity, now we’ve given him the powers and resources he needs to get on with the job.”

The Commission’s inception comes as new laws are set to further build on previous reforms which have been undertaken as part of an ambitious strategy to improve the quality and safety of buildings across New South Wales.

Known as the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, the new legislation will:

  • expand powers of the Commissioner to audit construction quality into low-rise residential buildings
  • enable builder licences to be cancelled or refused on the basis of unacceptable financial history such as involvement in corporate insolvencies
  • create a chain of responsibility for building product safety and compliance throughout the building product supply chain; and
  • facilitate greater take-up of decennial liability insurance.

The Bill has passed both houses of Parliament and is currently awaiting ascension.

It builds on an ambitious program of reform which has seen NSW shift from a laggard in building industry regulation to being the national leader in embracing building industry reform.

The reform program was commenced by the former Coalition Government in 2019 and has been continued by the current Labor Government since its election in March.

Despite reform efforts, the developments also come as unsatisfactory practices continue to be uncovered on building sites.

In his latest LinkedIn post, NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler described a random drop by of four construction sites.

One site for which the project is in early works on Eastern Valley Road was showing that silt had flowed across the public way as a result of an absence of sediment control.

On another site at Warriewood, numerous concerns were observed (see pictures). When contacted, the site supervisor indicated that he had not in fact visited the site.

(images of poor shoddy building work found on one site as posted on LinkedIn by NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler)

In his post, Chandler said that an early priority of the new Commission would be to commence a statewide risk analysis of license holders who may have obtained their licence through unsatisfactory registered training providers (RTOs).

The Commission will also commence a full review of the process for authorising RTOs.

Chandler says the new arrangements will deliver a more strategic and continuous program of work.

He says developers need to appreciate the need for construction quality and to understand that unsatisfactory practices will be called out. (Chandler regularly uses his LinkedIn feed to name and shame developers and others are found to have engaged in poor or shoddy work.)

“Calling out #Developers and #Builders is always met with pleadings like, ‘We are doing our best’, ‘Sorry we will do better’, ‘naming us impacts being on tender lists’ and ‘banks are now pushing back on called out players”,” Chandler wrote on his LinkedIn feed.


“Safety, housekeeping and poor amenities are indicators of non-compliant work.

“The penny must drop at some point with risky players. The cost of doing it properly, will always be cheaper than stoppages and rework.”


Enjoying Sourceable articles? Subscribe for Free and receive daily updates of all articles which are published on our site


Want to grow your sales, reach more new clients and expand your client base across Australia’s design and construction sector?

Advertise on Sourceable and have your business seen by the thousands of architects, engineers, builders/construction contractors, subcontractors/trade contractors, property developers and building industry suppliers who read our stories across the civil, commercial and residential construction sector