19 June 2007
The NSW Urban Taskforce, a development industry group representing Australia largest developers, has called on Frank Sartor, Minister for Planning to increase controls over private certifiers that issue construction and compliance certificates. Terry Barnes, Chief Executive Officer, said today that there is need to increase some of the powers of the Building Professional Board which is the arm of government that has responsibility for accrediting private certifiers.
At present the Building Professionals Board can impose fines of up to $11,000 but has to refer more serious matters to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, an appeals body, which can issue fines of up to $110,000.
These are not large fines given the value of buildings approved and the impact of a wrong certification.
We understand that private certifiers issue approximately 35,000 to 40,000 certificates annually and although there are only about 50 complaints per year, it is important that significant sanctions are in place to ensure all private certifiers realize how important their responsibilities are.
We suggest that the Building Professionals Board could be given wider powers so they can initiate actions in their own right where concerns are held about private certifiers and the fines should be higher. he said.
The fact that there are only a small number of complaints indicates that overall, the private certification system is a success. It provides a quick and efficient system where applicants pay for the service instead of overloading already severely under resourced councils who still have a role in ensuring the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act is complied with.
However, more serious sanctions with increased fines should be considered for the small number that either do not ensure compliance with development approvals or who break the rules he said.
The NSW Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing NSWs most prominent and important developers, builders and property financiers. The NSW development industrys annual turnover is $35 billion and employs 180,000 people, accounting for six percent of the States total employment. It is the fifth largest contributor to the State economy.
Media Enquires: Terry Barnes, Chief Executive Officer NSW Urban Taskforce, Phone: 9238 3955 or mobile 0423 000 113