Insights / December 19th, 2016

Room for Improvement? Have your say

There are a number of triggers under the Development Act and Regulations where a Council or Private Certifier may require that an existing building be upgraded.

In most cases, the requirement to upgrade the building is for health and safety reasons (including structural safety), or, in the case of an application for a change of building classification, to ensure that the building is appropriate for the intended use.

While the standard to which those building upgrades must comply is prescribed in the National Building Code (Building Rules), the extent of the upgrade required remains discretionary.

As we all know, complying with upgrade requirements under the Building Rules in older buildings is at times structurally difficult, making it an expensive exercise. In addition, the lack of clarity around the extent of the upgrade sometimes results in upgrades that exceed the value of the project or are over and above what is necessary to achieve the desired structural safety and health standards.

Draft Minister’s Code – creating certainty

To address the current lack of clarity, the Minister has released a draft code to provide some certainty around the extent of upgrade required for specific categories.

The code will identify legislative triggers that may lead to upgrade requirements. If triggered, minimum health and safety standards will be identified by the code specifying the extent of the upgrade.

The Code provides specific standards for these areas:

The Code forms part of the SA Government’s push to reinvigorate, energise and, importantly, use, Adelaide’s older building stock. In support of this goal we have already seen specific concessions under the Building Rules for small arts venues and changes to the Building Upgrade Finance (BUF) scheme. This latest round of proposed changes supports the Government initiative.

Have a look and have your say!

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure is inviting review and written submissions on the Code by 6 January 2017.

Please contact one of our team if you would like assistance in preparing a submission.

A copy of the Code can be found by following this link.