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New standards for NSW hotels, boarding houses and aged care facilities

In recent years, the NSW Government has implemented various legislative frameworks in the hopes of elevating the quality and credibility of the construction industry. Most notably, these include the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) (‘DBP Act’) and the Residential Apartments Building (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW) (‘RAB Act’). Both Acts have only applied to residential apartment complexes, known as class 2 buildings. As of 3 July 2023, provisions of these Acts will extend to cover class 3 (for example hotels and hostels) and class 9c (for example aged care homes) buildings.

What are class 3 and 9c buildings?

As specified in Part A6 of the Building Code of Australia, class 3 buildings pertain to short and long-term residential dwellings for multiple unrelated individuals. Class 3 buildings include the following:

a) A boarding house, guest house, hostel, lodging house, or backpacker accommodation.

b) A residential part of a hotel or motel.

c) A residential part of a school.

d) Accommodation for the elderly, children, or people with disability.

e) A residential part of a health-care building, which accommodates members of staff.

f) A residential part of a detention centre.

g) A residential care building.

Class 9c buildings are also residential in nature, but are designed to cater to various classes of individuals requiring physical care, such as aged care facilities. They are a place of residence where 10% or more of people who reside there need physical assistance in conducting their daily activities and to evacuate the building in the event of an emergency.

What does this mean for new building works?

The Building Legislation Amendment (Building Classes) Regulation 2023 (NSW) amends the Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021 (NSW) to extend the definition of ‘building work’ under section 4(1) to class 3 or 9c buildings.

Construction beginning on or after 3 July 2023 will be subject to the following obligations:

  1. Designers, builders, engineers will need to be registered under the DBP Act to conduct work on class 3 and 9c buildings. As a part of this registration, practitioners must successfully complete two mandatory online training modules accessed via the Construct NSW Digital Learning Platform.

  2. Construction designs must be lodged and declared compliant under the Building Code of Australia prior to the commencement of works.

  3. All construction must be carried out in line with the approved designs.

  4. Developers must provide notice before the completion of work for these building and pay the required levy.

The above changes will apply to the construction of a new Class 3 or Class 9c building. For existing Class 3 or Class 9c building in relation to alteration or renovation, building practitioners will not be subject to the DBP Act or RAB Act requirements until 1 July 2024.

What does this mean for current building works?

Buildings works that are currently underway will not be made subject to these added obligations. However, designs must be submitted to the NSW Planning Portal. The changes will however be applicable to projects where construction is beginning from 3 July 2023 onwards, even if designs have already been finalised.

What does this mean for head contractors?

Head contractors attract more responsibility as a result of these changes. They are required to oversee all aspects of these requirements, including the registration of all building practitioners, the procurement of adequate insurance, and incurring costs in time and money resulting from these changes.

In summary, the fast-approaching changes continue the NSW Government’s efforts in ensuring safety, compliance, and customer care throughout the building process. It is expected that more changes will follow, and class 3 and 9c buildings will gradually attract more obligations under the DBP Act and RAB Act, including in relation to alterations and renovations from July 2024.

For more information on the evolving obligations, please contact our people:

Ron Zucker 0410 590 111

Eollyn Cortes 0478 727 395

Sagang Chung 0431 435 333


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