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Can Disability Access Consultants issue Certificates of Compliance?

  • May 29, 2015
  • Bruce Bromley

As access consultants, we get involved at all stages of building projects, from concept or schematic designs right through to inspections of the completed works. We work across Australia and more recently overseas, but this discussion is specific to the building regulatory system in Victoria.

Access-Consultants-and-Certificates-of-ComplianceFrom time to time we get asked to provide ‘Certificates of Compliance’ for building designs or recently completed building works. When this occurs, our response to this request is always the same – we’re unable to issue them. We can however provide reports that determine if compliance is achieved within the proposed works, or the completed works.

This request is very common when we prepare ‘Alternative Solutions’ to support designs that vary from the prescriptive ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the Building Code of Australia (or BCA, part of the National Construction Code) and Premises Standards (under the Disability Discrimination Act).

We are unable to issue any ‘Certificate of Compliance – Designs’ for Alternative Solutions or other building solutions, as part of any proposed building works. Ultimately, this is because access consultants are not registered building practitioners within Victoria or Australia. The reasons for this are outlined below

  • Section 238 of the Building Act 1993 states that “a municipal building surveyor or a private building surveyor, in carrying out a function under this Act or the regulations, may rely on a certificate by a registered building practitioner in a prescribed category or class of practitioners that proposed building work of a prescribed class complies with any provision of this Act or the regulations“.
  • Regulation 111 of the Building Regulations 2006 (Certificates under the BCA) states that Clause A2.2 of the BCA Volume One (Evidence of Suitability) applies as if a certificate referred to in paragraph A2.2(a)(iii) of that clause were a certificate issued by a prescribed building practitioner under Section 238 of the Building Act 1993 complying with Regulation 1505 or 1506 (as the case requires).
  • Regulation 1507 of the Building Regulation 2006 (Forms of certificates of compliance) states that a “certificate under section 238 of the Act may be in a form approved by the Commission and published from time to time in the Government Gazette“.
  • Regulation 1505 of the Building Regulation 2006 (Certificates of compliance—proposed building work) states that the “prescribed classes of proposed building work and the prescribed categories and classes of practitioners in respect of proposed building work for the purpose of section 238(1)(a) of the Act are as follows—
    (a) for a certificate relating to the design or part of the design of building work relating to a structural, sewerage, water or drainage matter—category of engineer, class of civil engineer;
    (b) for a certificate relating to the design or part of the design of building work relating to a mechanical matter including hydraulic services within a building—category of engineer, class of mechanical engineer;
    (c) for a certificate relating to the design or part of the design of building work relating to an electrical matter—category of engineer, class of electrical engineer;
    (d) for a certificate relating to the design or part of the design of building work relating to a fire safety matter—category of engineer, class of fire safety engineer;
    (e) for a certificate relating to the design or part of the design of any of the above classes of building work—category of building surveyor“.
  • Schedule 7 of the Building Regulation 2006 (Category/prescribed class of building practitioners) has no regard for the profession of access consultant, DDA consultant, disability access consultant or the like. At the moment, the profession lies outside the building regulatory system in all States and Territories in Australia. The industry resides in a similar area to that of energy efficiency raters and acoustic specialists.

It is also important to note that the same situation exists for any requests asking us to confirm compliant building works have been undertaken with a ‘Certificate of Compliance – Inspection’ (under Regulation 1506 of the Building Regulations 2006).