140 Sussex Street, Sydney. Designed by Rickard Engineering in 1989. As good as new in 2019.

I was interested to read the view of Lynda Kypriadakis (Australian Financial Review – 13 July 2019) regarding the suggestion that we should return building control to the District Building Surveyors. The reader may be interested to know that I originally suggested this to the Secretary of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors in June 2012, during the BPB Seminar held at the Wesley Centre, Pitt Street, Sydney. He immediately pleaded to me not to continue with that suggestion.

Some may think the MDC EA proposal to create “Building Governance Bodies” (BGB) is too much, but it cannot be worse than the current legislation. I can see no other option to establish mandatory rules for effective building control since no one is independent of the builder. Originally, the Government introduced 15 categories C1-C15 of accreditation. This was a good idea in principle, but for some reason was never adopted. The MDC had a similar idea (BGB’s) but they have only 12 categories. See category lists below.

I put forward the following six Key Points:

  1. Abolish the name “Accredited Certifier”. Call the “Principal Certifying Authority” what he is. The PCA. He has the same role as the Senior District Building Surveyor in country Australia. Call the other Accredited Certifiers, AC1 – Architect, AC2 – Building Surveyor, AC3 – Structural Engineer etc, etc.

  2. Industry to agree on the final BPB categories of accreditation.
    Appoint a Chairperson for each category to establish a committee responsible for setting the mandatory rules for Design, Inspection and Certification with Accountability (DICA). Allow five (5) months total to be ready to run the system – 1 January 2020. Reintroduce “Resident Engineers” and “Clerks of Works” etc, etc as part of the proper system for inspections on the appropriate projects.

  3. The day that a “Design and Construct” contract is finalised, the client and the builder are to agree on the final selection of a PCA. (He effectively is custodian for both and answerable to both).

  4. The builder is then to submit to the PCA a list of Accredited Certifiers (AC1-AC12 tbc) for his approval. He is to check that they have appropriate Professional Indemnity and the professional capability/experience to do the job.

  5. There shall be only one AC for each discipline. All subcontract packages have to be approved by that one AC for that discipline e.g. all designers working for subcontractors must have their designs certified by the one PCA. Example – the designer of the prestressed concrete slabs on the building must submit his design to the AC-structural engineer for the project.

  6. No As-built drawings – No insurance – No Occupation Certificate.

Categories of Accreditation

Building Professionals Act
(C Series)
MDC Engineers Australia Committee
June 2013 Report
C1 Private road and drainage design C1 Architect
C2 Private road and drainage construction C2 Building Surveyor
C3 Stormwater management facilities designC3 Structural Engineer
C4 Stormwater management facilities construction C4 Civil Engineer & Stormwater
C5 Subdivision & building (works as constructed)C5 Geotech Engineer
C6 Subdivision road and drainage constructionC6 Mech Engineer
C7 Structural engineeringC7 Elec Engineer
C8 Electrical servicesC8 Fire Engineer
C9 Mechanical servicesC9 Building Hydraulics
C10 Fire safety engineeringC10 Acoustic Engineer
C11 Energy management (Classes 3, 5 to 9)C11 Lift Engineer
C12 Geotechnical engineeringC12 Energy Management
C13 Acoustics
C14 Building hydraulics C15 Stormwater

Charles Rickard
Ex-Chairman MDC EA