The department facilitates the development of a more efficient, internationally competitive building and construction industry through better regulation and encouragement of innovation.
Departmental Role and Current Activities
The department is involved in an extensive raft of policy initiatives concerning building and construction, predominantly involving regulatory reform matters. There are currently four key initiatives that the department is either directly involved in or has a key interest in:
The department also provides secretariat support to the Built Environment Industry Innovation Council.
National Construction Code
The department is working with the ABCB and other jurisdictions on implementing a COAG initiative to establish a nationally consistent approach to building and plumbing regulation through the consolidation of the building and plumbing codes into the National Construction Code, to establish a nationally consistent approach to building and plumbing regulation. The National Construction Code was published in May 2011. An important outcome of this process will result in a national approach to plumbing regulation for the first time.
Intergovernmental Agreement for the ABCB
A new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has been developed as part of the ongoing reform agenda to deliver greater national consistency. The new IGA complements the work on the National Construction Code. The main thrust of the new IGA will be to re-emphasise the primacy of core code development activities for all jurisdictions through a national approach to building and plumbing regulatory reform, as well as to improve accountability and streamline administrative processes. A review of the current IGA was completed in 2009. The findings of that review informed the development of the new IGA which has received in principle agreement by the Building Ministers' Forum and will shortly be executed/finalised.
National Strategy on Energy Efficiency
The National Strategy on Energy Efficiency targets several key areas, in particular 'Making Buildings More Efficient'. COAG has agreed to several measures under the Strategy, including increasing the stringency of energy efficiency requirements for buildings, introducing mandatory disclosure for buildings and reforming the current rating and assessment processes for building energy efficiency standards. The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency is the lead agency for implementing the Strategy with the department and other relevant agencies being key stakeholders and contributors in their area of expertise.
The Disability (Access to Premises - Building) Standards (Premises Standards) will help provide better access to new and upgraded public building for people for people with disabilities and will make it clearer what is requred to avoid discrimation. The department, together with the Attorney-General's Department, have provided advice and facilitated work to assist the Government to develop a standard for disability access to buildings. The Premises Standards came into effect on 1 May 2011, to align with parallel changes to the National Construction Code. The Premises Standards will also deliver the certainty that industry has long sought on this issue. The department will be involved in reviewing the Standards, as outlined in the Government's response to the Access All Areas report.
For further information
Manager, Building Policy Section
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Ph. 02 6213 7214