New Building regulator to oversee delivery of new homes in NSW

Councils in Sydney’s growing western suburbs have welcomed the state government’s announcement it will establish a new body to oversee regulation, licensing and oversight of the building industry as it responds to the current housing supply crisis.

Barry Calvert

The Building Commission will be in place by the end of the year, tasked with ensuring the quality of new housing, particularly apartments, as well as delivering more supply.

Premier Chris Minns says it comes in response to the lack of housing and increases in rental prices in the state.

“The NSW Government recognises the pressing need for more homes to enter the market – to ease pressure on the housing market and keep young people in NSW,” he said on Tuesday.

“But the Minns Government is committed to ensuring the tens of thousands of new homes that our state requires are quality homes.”

Departments ordered to find under-used land

The premier has also confirmed he has also written to all ministers ordering an urgent departmental review to identity surplus and under-used public land that can be rezoned for housing, including affordable housing.

“One of the decision’s I’ve made is to  write to our government departments about what land is available for development and when that development takes place to have a minimum of 30 per cent social, affordable and inclusive housing as a target for government,” he told the Sydney 2050 Summit on Monday.

“I’m asking them to work hard to identify land for housing, and it’s not good enough to just say we might build over here, we might build over there, we might build somewhere else. You’ve got to identify where and how you build for the future.”

Councils welcome Building Commission

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) said it was looking forward to working with the government to ensure the delivery of safe, disaster-proof, energy efficient housing that’s well equipped for new technology, including EVs.

“We want to see homes that are safe, comfortable, and healthy to live in – and that don’t cost the earth to run,’ Councillor Barry Calvert said in a statement.

“Quality homes are energy efficient, reducing energy bills and keeping us comfortable and healthy. “They should also keep people safe from natural hazards, such as floods and bushfires.”

Cr Calvert also welcomed the government’s intention to introduce a new ‘plain-English’ Building Act into Parliament which aims modernise existing legislation, some of which is decades old.

The government says the Building Commission will scale up work done by Commissioner David Chandler, who has cracked down on the high-rise apartment sector since his appointment in 2019.

“The Building Commissioner David Chandler has done a remarkable job cleaning up the construction industry. We want to expand on that and ensure can get supply moving while still maintaining public confidence in the quality,” Mr Minns said.

Mr Chandler told a media conference on Monday that the state needs to double the number of apartments built each year from around 15,000 to 30,000.

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