ACRA NSW’s Advocacy Committee Update

ACRA NSW’s Advocacy Committee continues to make progress with State Government on the key issues impacting remedial works in Class 2 buildings. As Board Member and President of the NSW Committee, I acknowledge the advocacy members: Grahame Vile, Peter Johnsson, Helen Kowal and Deborah Lockart.

To strengthen our position, we have formed a partnership with Strata Community Association (SCA) NSW. We continue our work together, and the momentum continues to grow.

There are still many unanswered questions. But be assured that many people are working on resolving these, from both sides of the fence. I would like to particularly acknowledge ACRA NSW’s Helen Kowal (SWAAB), who has clocked more than 400 voluntary hours on exploring the knotty legal issues, and Deborah Lockart (RHM Consultants), who continues to provide one-on-one training sessions on the DBP and planning portal for the remedial industry, in addition to her already vast involvement.

Exempt Development 

Under the RAB and DBP Acts, State Government has audited 5000 lots this year, with a further 3000 lots by year-end. Remedial site audits have comprised a very small component of this, with one receiving an intention to stop works notice. It has raised the urgent requirement for the remedial and strata communities to revisit and understand the SEPP codes which determine planning requirements.

ACRA NSW has established a task force on Exempt Development. We have produced and submitted to the Department of Customer Service a recommended interpretation of the planning codes for remedial works. We await feedback. The task force group will also collaborate with Government on a flowchart of how to triage current projects and tenders.

On 1 September 2022, I was joined by Helen Kowal, Partner SWAAB, and Matt Press, Executive Director of Compliance and Dispute Resolution, to discuss this topic on a SCA webinar.

DBP Act – Fundamentals

We continue our consultation with Government. Over coming weeks, we carry out the first review of Fair Trading’s performance solution for remedial works. We see this as being a critical tool to allow engineers to produce regulated designs that treat the problem, instead of over-designing for compliance. It will be a major win for de-risking design for engineers and reducing costs to owners.

A Fair Trading fact sheet on how to proceed with loss mitigation works under the DPB will also soon be available to the Remedial Industry.

There is further work to be done on establishing the demarcation between a new regulated design and the existing structure; as well as edits to the Design Handbook.

DBP Act – Operational

Under the stewardship of Deborah Lockart, RHM Consultants, we continue to make inroads with improving the user experience of the e-planning Portal for design and building practitioners. Deborah co-led another successful training session late August, along with myself and Metin Izci from the Department of Planning and Environment. Another session is planned for 2nd November.

What’s next

 We have an ACRA-members-only webinar planned for 28th September at 10 am with Matt Press and the ACRA NSW Advocacy Committee. Invite coming soon.

Upcoming, we have several meetings with State Government and broader stakeholder engagement scheduled, including with owner representative group OCN, certifiers, Local Government, and architects.

Please continue to email me your case studies, questions and anecdotes, because these are helping our conversation with Government.

Kind regards
Caroline McConnachie
ACRA NSW Sub Branch President
ACRA Board Member


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