Online access to Construction Code 'will save builders hundreds'
The release of the National Construction Code (NCC) free online will help construction companies save hundreds on annual costs.
"From 1 February, all NSW Builders will have access to the National Construction Code (NCC) through a free online service," said NSW Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox.
"Previously, businesses were required to pay almost $400 to get access to the Code.
"By making the Code freely accessible, we are encouraging greater compliance and best practice standards throughout the industry – from sole-traders right through to large companies.
"Access to the Code is expected to increase from 12,000 registered users to about 200,000 practitioners in the building and plumbing industry.
"This means all builders will now know what the expected standards are, as well as their responsibilities."
The free access initiative follows a joint decision by federal and state ministers at the Australian Building Ministers' Forum in May 2014 to come up with a reform package for the building industry aimed at reducing compliance costs without compromising on health and safety standards.
HIA Senior Executive Director, Building, Development and Environment, Kristin Brookfield said free access should make business "that little bit easier" for builders.
"Compliance with the NCC is a legal requirement, so free and easy access to code should be the standard, as with other regulations," she said.
Mason-Cox said the NSW government was undertaking a number of other extensive reforms to the industry including the introduction of significantly tougher new Home Building Laws.
"Among some of the key measures in that package of reforms was the introduction of imprisonment of up to 12 months for builders who are repeat offenders of unlicensed contracting work or don't have the required insurance," he said.
"Licence eligibility has been tightened to stamp out illegal 'phoenixing', which is where a company closes down leaving large unpaid debts, only to re-emerge as a new company trading under a different name."
Limiting changes, reducing red tape
Recent changes will also see the code move from an annual to a three-year review cycle.
Brookfield said: "Limiting changes to the code will also give builders and home buyers certainty about the rules, and help to reduce the red tape involved in getting house plans approved.
"The next challenge is to give the industry open access to the hundreds of Australian Standards that are referenced by the NCC."
The maintenance of the NCC over 20 years has been a result of successful collaboration between all levels of government and industry.
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