A recent post on www.thefifthestate.com.au warned local councils, builders, building certifiers, property owners and residential selling agents of a possible shake-up of the building industry. In fact the post describes it as one of the “biggest industry reforms in many years” which would shake-up the common rorting of energy efficiency and other environment measures which are mandated by building codes and regulations but mostly just ignored. Apparently the building industry is demonstrating a problematic indifference to certain codes and regulations and are not being held accountable.
People in the building industry are being warned that they could see the industry undergo a radical shakeup, if the report which detailed widespread “rorting” of environmental codes and regulations in the sector has the intended impact.
Possible changes that can be expected include the enforcing of codes and regulations by councils. Where as in the past a blind eye was turned, now we may see the reappointment of building certifiers as well as the prosecution of high profile offenders in order to send a strong message to the industry.
The article mentions the lead author of the report, Phil Harrington who says there is the possibility that we may see serious changes soon. He compared the changes that we may see with those implemented in the appliance industry. A decade ago the appliance industry was full of faulty and sub-standard equipment, but reforms have changed all of that for the better.
The National Energy Efficient Building Project report could see these changes being implemented sooner rather than later.
The report was conducted by the Swinburne University and Harrington in a program headed by the South Australian government.
During the project, more than 1000 stakeholders were interviewed around the country. The project revealed that there were “systemic weaknesses” and “widespread non-compliance” with the energy efficiency requirements of the National Construction Code.
Some of the problems identified which will likely be addressed include
…certifiers “ticking off” elements that don’t exist, substitution of inferior products and almost the entire suite of stakeholders involved turning a blind eye.
Despite these shortcomings on the part of the industry being identified, Harrington says they have reacted positively to the report. He says since the report’s findings were posted on The Fifth Estate, the feedback has been “very positive, there’s been not one bit of negative feedback yet”.
Harrington explains more about the reaction from the industry and councils,
This was a “bit surprising and reassuring,” he says. “It was about time and it needed to be said. A lot of people have known about this for years but no one has been willing to say it.
“No one suggests that the figures are not correct.”
But Harrington is not keen on our use of the word “rorting” and wishes we would use something else. It’s not so much rorting, he says, as a “culture of indifference” and much of it is driven by ignorance.
“A number of councils I’ve spoken to about this in the course of the project basically said, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this mattered and why this mattered.”