The Options Paper on improving Certifier Independence must balance independence with competiveness, says the Urban Taskforce.
“While the development industry understands the need for certifiers to be independent there must be a selection process that ensures competiveness,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “The cab rank option means a developer could be charged excessive fees that would increase the cost of new apartments while the rotation approach has three certifiers to get quotes from.”
“The time limit option could be a good balance between establishing an independence after a number of years where a certifier and a developer / builder work on projects and then choosing a new certifying firm for the next three or so years.”
“Another critical aspect for the certifying industry will be their insurance as they are taking major risk in their role. If the industry becomes mainly smaller firms the insurance industry will be concerned at the level of expertise and increase premiums that will impact on the viability of the certifiers business.”
“An important consideration will be the reaction of certifiers to the various options. If it becomes too hard to run a business as a certifier waits for their turn then there will be less and less certifying firms with expertise. The NSW Government must liaise with the certifying industry to ensure that expertise is maintained and that sufficient companies remain in business at the various levels of expertise.”
“The Urban Taskforce will talk to its members and to certifiers to enable us to contribute a submission to the Options Paper that ensures a balance between maintaining independence, ensuring competiveness and that a viable certifying industry continues.”