Tasmanian building industry lauds regulation changes

Construction Minister Guy Barnett talks building reforms with Michael Kerschbaum, of Master Builders Tasmania, and Rick Sassin, from the Housing Industry Association of Tasmania.

Construction Minister Guy Barnett talks building reforms with Michael Kerschbaum, of Master Builders Tasmania, and Rick Sassin, from the Housing Industry Association of Tasmania.

The Tasmanian building industry has welcomed changes to the state’s regulations, claiming it will lead to quicker and cheaper construction of small projects.

Building, plumbing and demolition approvals from January 1 will now be based on risk assessments performed by a building surveyor, negating the need for permits.

Councils will still need to be notified of medium-risk work and high-risk work will still require a building permit.

Construction Minister Guy Barnett talked up the new rules while touring the Parliament Square development in Hobart on Monday.

“What will happen will be a faster, cheaper and more simple system for gaining approvals for a building across Tasmania,” he said.

Master Builders Tasmania executive director Michael Kerschbaum said standard single storey homes, small commercial buildings, sheds, garages and carports would no longer have to go through a full permit approvals process.

“It certainly will address one of the fundamental flaws of the current system whereby office fitouts need to go through the full process when you really only need someone who is qualified, like a building surveyor, to get things going,” he said.

“The current Act has required an overhaul for some years now.”

Mr Kerschbaum said the new process would shave at least three weeks off preliminary buildings work and more when new plumbing was required.

Housing Industry Association state executive director Rick Sassin said there had been a frustrating process for people to build simple residential homes until now.

“The impact on the wider economy is that time saved is money saved,” he said.

Ronald Young Builders managing director Paul Burnell said the change would lift productivity without compromising building standards.

There are about 20,000 people employed in construction in Tasmania.

The state industry as a whole was valued at $2.18 billion in 2015.

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