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    Property Development Brief – 2020 In Review

    To say that the 2020 calendar year has been tumultuous would be an understatement.  State and federal governments introduced reform agendas aimed towards increasing public confidence in the building and construction industry by delivering compliant and safe buildings that perform to expected standards over the longer term.

    The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic saw the entire country subjected to various levels of lockdown and social distancing, with the knock-on effect creating delays for developers to their material supply chains and project completion dates.

    4 June 2020     HomeBuilder Grant Australia

    In response to the Covid-19 crisis and concern over rising unemployment, the Australian Government introduced a time-limited initiative in support of the residential construction industry.

    The HomeBuilder Grant was launched with a few eligibility caps including: –

    • the applicant needed to enter into a building contract between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020;
    • applicant must be an Australian citizen;
    • applicant must be over the age of 18 years;
    • applicant’s taxable income must be under $125,000
    • grants only apply to “house and land contracts”, “contracts to renovate”, “off the plan apartments” with a price value not exceeding $750,000.

    As of 23 October 2020, the Federal Government’s Treasury website reported that of the 14,599 applications made across Australia, 2,916 of these relate to NSW applicants.

    11 June 2020   Duty of Care

    The Duty of Care provisions contained within the Design and Building Practitioners Act came into effect on 11 June 2020.

    The remaining provisions within the Act relating to design, building work and registration of key industry participants, will not commence until 1 July 2021.

    Under the Duty of Care provisions builders, developers, designers, project managers and manufacturers now owe a retrospective statutory duty of care that may be enforceable for any economic loss that has occurred within the last 10 years prior to 11 June 2020.  It is clear from the legislation that the provisions could create severe implications for builders, developers, designers, project managers and manufacturers by opening them up to liability where no such liability existed at the time of the construction work being performed.

    1 September 2020      Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW)

    To further tighten compliance and accountability requirements on developers and contractors, the NSW Building Commissioner has brought in stricter regulations effecting “developers” under the abovementioned Act.  The term “developers” broadly refers to any owner of the land on which the building work is conducted at the time that building work was conducted, the principal contractor for the building work and the “original owner” of a strata scheme.

    The Commissioner has discretionary powers which allow:

    • orders prohibiting the issue of an occupation certificate;
    • stop work orders;
    • building work rectification orders.

    It is anticipated that over the next 12 months, that the obligations on “developers” will reflect progressive changes as different sections of the Design and Building Practitioners Act and Residential Buildings Act come into operation.

    If the material contained within any of the summaries raise concerns for you, we suggest that you contact & Legal to seek clarification and/or advice.

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