Industry engagement is key to getting reforms right

As seen in the latest edition of Construct NSW newsletter:
A crucial element of the Construct NSW program has been its engagement with stakeholders (such as peak bodies and associations). The Office of the Building Commissioner and the Better Regulation Division in the Department of Customer Service often consults peak industry bodies to ensure outcomes are well-informed and guided by experts.

The NSW Building Commissioner, David Chandler recently sat down with Caroline McConnachie, a Board Member of the Australasian Concrete Repair and Remedial Building Association (ACRA) and the Strata Community Association (NSW), to hear her experience of working with the government on:

  • ensuring the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and supporting Regulation 2021 was applicable to the remedial industry
  • developing a new eLearning module on waterproofing remediation.

ACRA is the peak body for the remedial industry in Australasia, representing remedial consultants and engineers, contractors, suppliers and a select group of asset owners.

(Photos below: David Chandler meets with Grahame Vile and Caroline McConnachie (ACRA) to discuss waterproofing remediation)


David Chandler: Can you share your experience of working with the NSW Government?

Caroline McConnachie: As with many of our customers and others in the building and construction industry, our initial conversations with the regulator indicated little recognition of the importance of remediation.

The Design and Building Practitioners Regulation has highlighted certain grey areas relating to remedial work, which we are systematically working through with the OBC. We quickly came to appreciate the team’s willingness to truly understand our industry and have enjoyed some healthy debates on establishing ‘what is remedial?’.

We’ve come out of it with what I consider mutual respect, aided by our shared interest in reducing building defects, educating stakeholders, and providing much-needed protection to the end customer.

I’m looking forward to joining the OBC’s new Acting Director, Vanessa Carmody-Smith, at a webinar on Wednesday, 8 June to discuss the partnership between ACRA and OBC to deliver the latest course on the challenges of remediation. The principles of this course are to ensure work is carried out by qualified people who diagnose, remediate and communicate, and ultimately focus on looking after the interests of building owners.

David Chandler: Why is government and industry collaboration so important?

Caroline McConnachie: Effective policy design and implementation require consultation with all affected parties. ACRA members represent one of many diverse voices impacted by building reforms. The ability to raise our collective concerns has been immensely valuable.

Our seat at the table has allowed us to assist the NSW Government in representing, informing and reassuring ACRA’s members.

David Chandler: Tell us about your involvement in the eLearning module

Caroline McConnachie: Our collaboration on the new eLearning module, together with the support of the Strata Community Association NSW, has been our most satisfying achievement.

This interactive course provides training on how to successfully run a waterproofing remedial project for strata managers, strata committees, building managers and apartment owners.

Our aim is to help eradicate bad practices and prevent further defects that result in devastating emotional and economic impacts for owners.

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