Major change for NSW developers in relation to serious building defects

The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (NSW) passed swiftly through the NSW Parliament and was assented to on 10 June 2020.  This is part of the government’s response on buildings that may have serious defects, including non-complaint cladding or buildings with Mascot Towers type issues.

The NSW Building Commissioner and other authorised officers have been given additional and new compliance checking and enforcement powers that apply from 1 September 2020.  These are designed to ensure defects are fixed before residents take possession of their apartment.  Significantly, a ‘prohibition order’ to delay the issue of the occupation certificate is a key feature of the changes.

The changes also permit officers to:
  • demand access to information and records;
  • enter building sites to carry out inspections and tests;
  • seize records or other evidence;
  • demolish building work;
  • issue a stop work order;
  • issue a building rectification order;
  • prohibit an occupation certificate from being issued; and
  • prevent a strata plan from being registered.
Importantly, notice is required as a precondition for developers to apply for an occupation certificate for any part of a residential apartment building. Developers must give a notice of their intention to make such an application in the period 6-12 months before the application is ultimately made. The issue of the occupation certificate can be prohibited unless the required notice is given. Penalties of up to $110,000 (for corporations) will apply for failure to give the notice.

These changes apply to new residential buildings as well as to residential buildings constructed in the past 10 years.

There are several significant implications for developers including those with developments that have settled apartment sales within the last 10 years.  The enabling regulations are yet to be enacted. 

If you have questions or would like to discuss the impact of these changes please feel welcome to speak with partners Rebecca Mercer or Chi Chau, who work within Hicksons Property, Planning and Construction Group.

Most Popular Articles


Service of Notices by Registered Post

Where service of a notice is authorised or required by post, unless the contrary intention appears, service will be deemed to be effected at the time when the notice would be delivered in the ordinary course of post: see the various Acts Interpretation acts of the States and Commonwealth.

Abolition of Duties – 1 July 2016

On 1 July 2016, mortgage duty, certain business asset duties and marketable duties (shares and units) are being abolished in New South Wales. 

Abandonment of employment – some best practice tips

We are regularly asked to advise employers in relation to whether certain circumstances amount to abandonment of employment and, if so, what are the employer’s rights and obligations.
  • 1 Mar 2017

Subscribe to Our Blog

Keeping you connected, Hicksons regularly publishes articles to keep you up to date on the latest developments. To receive these updates via email, please subscribe below and indicate which areas of law you would like to receive information on.