The NSW building commissioner is hoping new powers will allow him to take a “more forward and activist position” within months.
David Chandler, who was appointed to the new role in 2019 following high profile building defect issues, said the state government planned to introduce legislation to give him the powers he needs.
The proposed legislation is expected to include powers to direct the production of documents, to open up or demolish building work, to issue orders to stop work and prevent a final occupation certificate being issued, AAP understands.
Mr Chandler said he anticipated they would be in place by mid-2020.
“I believe that it is absolutely essential that my powers are brought on as soon as possible,” the commissioner told a NSW parliamentary inquiry into building standards, quality and disputes on Monday.
He said there was a wide range of issues he intended to address in his role including product labelling, improper products and a lack of design.
“The powers we’ve got at the moment are to inspect and to respond to complaints,” Mr Chandler said.
“I want to actually take a more forward and activist position, where I’ve got reasonable concerns, to actually go exploring those reasonable concerns.”
News of the proposed legislation comes after the introduction of the state government’s building reform bill, which is still to pass the NSW upper house.
That bill – the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 – was delayed last year amid a stand-off between the government and Labor and the Greens over proposed amendments.
Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson said reforms to the building industry were crucial – and to successfully drive those reforms, the commissioner needed “the strongest possible powers”.
“Everything we have learnt about the shortcomings in the building and construction industry can now be clearly addressed through the reform agenda,” Mr Anderson said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Passage of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 is fundamental to this agenda to help restore confidence back in the market.”