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From 2020, new laws have applied to the NSW building and construction industry.

  • The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (DBP Act) introduced new obligations and mandatory requirements for industry practitioners to ensure designs and building work are compliant with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) commenced in July 2021

Initially, these laws only applied to class 2 buildings and buildings with a class 2 part. These buildings include multi-storey, multi-unit apartment buildings, and mixed-use buildings.

From 3 July 2023, the RAB Act and DBP Act also apply to class 3 and 9c buildings and buildings with a class 3 or 9c part, with ongoing consultation with industry to identify which other building types should be included in this regulatory framework.

Which building classes are regulated in NSW?

Class 2, 3 and 9c buildings are currently regulated in NSW.

From 3 July 2023, the RAB Act and the DBP Act expanded to include class 3 and 9c buildings (in addition to class 2 buildings).

Under the RAB Act, developers must give notice of the date they plan to apply for an occupation certificate, and may be required to pay the building work levy.

The expansion of the DBP Act applies to the construction of new class 3 and 9c buildings only. Registrations are required to work on any new class 3 and 9c buildings only.

Note: If you already hold a current building practitioner registration, it is not necessary to also be registered for class 3 and 9c.

Alteration or renovation work for existing class 3 & 9c buildings will come into effect on 1 July 2024. The DBP Act continues to apply to building work on new and existing class 2 buildings.

All building work regulated by the DBP Act must comply with the requirements under the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

The BCA sits within the National Construction Code (NCC). The NCC sets out the minimum technical requirements for new buildings (and new work to existing buildings) in Australia.

Class 2 buildings are usually multi-storey, multi-unit apartment buildings where people live above or below each other.

Class 2 may also be a single storey attached dwelling where there is a common space below such as a carpark or basement.

Class 3 buildings are residential buildings, other than a class 1 or 2 building, that are a common place for long term or transient living for a number of unrelated persons, such as:

  • Boarding houses;

  • Hostel;

  • Backpackers accommodation;

  • Residential part of a hotel, motel, school or detention centre;

  • Dormitory style accommodation;

  • Care facilities for the elderly which are not considered class 9.

Class 9c buildings are residential care buildings that may contain residents who have various care level needs. They are a place of residence where 10% or more of persons who reside there need physical assistance in conducting their daily activities and to evacuate the building during an emergency. An aged care building, where residents are provided with personal care services, is a Class 9c building.

Design practitioners, principal design practitioners, building practitioners and professional engineers must be registered to make compliance declarations, perform professional engineering work, or perform other work under the DBP Act.

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