Applying previous building legislation

Will tomorrow’s rules impact your design today?

Let’s look at another hypothetical situation: You’ve just completed the design of your development project. All costing has been finalised, the project has an agreed budget, and the landowner is happy and has signed off on the design.

But wait, building assessment provisions have suddenly changed. This means a major redesign of the development, an increase in the project’s budget, and most likely, an unhappy client. So what do you do?

Fortunately, section 37 of the Building Act 1975 provides means to allow for transition between amendments in the building assessment provisions that may have major impacts on development. You will, however, need to discuss the application of this provision with your building certifier to determine if your development meets the criteria.

First, you will need to demonstrate to the building certifier that the design was substantially developed or completed before the new provision became lawful. The building certifier will then need to establish the following:

1. Whether planning for carrying out the work had started before a building assessment provision was amended, and

2. Whether the building certifier is prepared to certify in writing that;

a.) substantial progress was made on the design of the building, or the design was completed before the amendment; and

b.) the design would need to be changed to comply with the amended provision; and

c.) the changes needed under b.) are not minor changes, having regard to the amendment and the nature of the building work.

In the past, we have seen this process practiced with amendments in disability access requirements, cyclonic garage door laws, and the implementation of the transport noise corridors.

Section 37 of the Building Act allows a building certifier to assist building designers and developers, transition into amended building assessment provisions without an immediate impact on individual projects. If you believe this may apply to your development, contact your building certifier to discuss further.

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I am a Director of Devcert and have been a Building Surveyor since 1989. I have a bachelor degree in building surveying and I am a qualified carpenter. I have been in the construction industry since 1981. I have a real passion for the building certification profession as I believe building certifiers are the general practitioners of the construction industry. Our role is not only to know building law and apply it, our role includes assisting in the development of the knowledge of all in the industry by sharing our knowledge and experience.