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AMCA responds to National Registration Framework for Building Practitioners

Published: 31 August 2020

The AMCA has submitted an online response to the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) regarding the proposed National Registration Framework (NRF) for Building Practitioners.

The framework is designed to help restore confidence in Australia’s building industry through the registration of building practitioners involved in the design, construction and maintenance of buildings, including competency and experience requirements. 

AMCA Chief Executive Officer, Scott Williams, said that the AMCA supports the National Registration Framework in principle, but noted there are still gaps that need to be addressed. 

“We think that the National Registration Framework is an important step towards restoring confidence in Australia’s building industry,” Mr Williams said. 

“It could also help to deliver economic benefits by improving the efficiency of the registration process and facilitating recognition of practitioners across jurisdictions.” 

“However, it’s important to recognise that different buildings have different levels of design complexity, so the level of competency and regulatory requirements applied to building practitioners should be matched accordingly.”

In its current form, the National Registration Framework only recognises the role and competency of mechanical engineers when it comes to HVAC system design, though a category of Plumbing Technical Design is prescribed for other scopes of plumbing. 

“The absence of Technical Design category for mechanical services and refrigerated air-conditioning fails to recognise the ability of trade qualified practitioners to competently perform design and documentation for certain building types and deemed-to-satisfy solutions.”

“Not only would this prevent trade practitioners from performing work they are most certainty capable of doing, but the cost of construction would go up if a mechanical engineer was required for every project, regardless of its size or complexity.”  

“For this reason, we think that the development of a risk-based classification system as a trigger for additional regulatory requirements is necessary to ensure that the NRF can be implemented in appropriate and proportionate way. 

“So we look forward to submitting our response to the Definition for Building Complexity consultation process later this year.” 

While development of the National Registration Framework is being overseen by the Australian Building Codes Board, its implementation will depend on the commitment of state and territory governments. 

“The integrity of the framework will be severely undermined if it is implemented in a fragmented, inconsistent and piecemeal way by state and territory governments.”

“This not only includes the way in which the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of the various building practitioners are integrated into the state’s building approval process, but also the ability of training providers to deliver the competencies required within the National Registration Framework.”

We will continue to work with the ABCB, as well as state and territory governments on all these issues. 

The AMCA response was submitted via an online form in accordance with ABCB requirements. For more information please contact AMCA Policy and Communications Manager, Ben Hawkins.