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Reforming the residential apartment building industry

A summary of the Construct NSW reform program that puts the customer at the centre and transforms residential apartment building into a more capable, accountable and quality-focused industry.

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What Construct NSW will achieve

The NSW Government Construct NSW strategy will better protect buyers and residents of multi-storey apartment buildings.

The strategy will achieve this by:

  • introducing laws and regulation that are customer-focused
  • establishing a rating system to help identify risky developers
  • more skills and training for the construction industry
  • updating construction contracts
  • updating building standards 
  • moving the industry from paper-based recordkeeping to digital platforms
  • giving consumers an opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of strata buildings, serious defects and strata management.

How the new laws will help to create change

The new laws will 

  • give the NSW Building Commissioner the power to take action against developers if their buildings have serious defects
  • give the homeowner the ability to seek compensation if a developer has been negligent
  • put the onus on design practitioners, builders and project managers to exercise reasonable care to avoid financial loss to current and future homeowners caused by building defects.

The NSW Building Commissioner can take action against defects for buildings that have been completed within 10 years of the issue of the occupation certificate.

New obligations for developers, designers and builders

From 1 September 2020, developers will need to

  • give notice at least six months before a building is due to be completed. This will allow time for inspectors from the Department of Customer Service to review the building
  • lodge the 2% strata bond via the NSW Planning Portal.



The new Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 applies to buildings up to 10 years old. 

Homeowners and residents can report building defects or complaints directly to NSW Fair Trading. These can be for houses or multi-unit dwellings.

The Office of the Building Commissioner will continue to take an active interest in all building defects, to inform the building reforms that are taking shape. 

To keep up to date with developments in building reform and the work of the Building Commissioner, subscribe to our newsletter.

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