President’s message: 9 August 2012

It’s been a busy time at the AAC.

I have recently attended meetings with the Department of Planning and the Building Professionals Board on proposed changes to the notification requirements for complying development and the proposed funding of enforcement action. I also had a telephone interview with a consultant preparing a report for the Inter-Departmental Working Group where I provided feedback on the current issues that AAC members are facing. Thank you to all the members who were able to provide feedback for me to take to these meetings. Your input is greatly appreciated.

We have installed a new database and website that will help us better interact with members. The member only area, My Account, is a great place for you to record your CPD online, track your activities with the AAC and update your contact details. Make sure you review your details and update the Regions you work in – this helps visitors to our website find you. If you haven’t already done so, send us your logo and introduction text to be uploated as well. Contact Jill Brookfield if you need your Username and Password resent to you.

The AAC Conference is only weeks away. We have a really interesting array of presentations and guest presenters, all based around the theme, A Profession for Professionals. We are professionals, as individuals and as a group, and its important that we remind our industry peers and the community of this very fact. It would be great to see you all at the event. Register now for the early bird rate.

Big news for the planning industry is that the Planning Review committee released its Green Paper – A New Planning System for NSW. The AAC Board is reviewing the documents and will make a submission before the 14 September deadline. I would also encourage all AAC members to make individual submissions as well. To access the review documents, click here.

Craig Hardy
AAC President

* Note – some links may only be available to AAC members.

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Question about future AAC Conferences

Tell us what you think.

Is one day for the annual AAC Conference enough? Should the event include some social activities? Should the event move outside of the city?

We’d like to hear your thoughts.

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AAC Seminar 23 November: BASIX & Timber frames and trusses

Wednesday 23 Nov 2011 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Timber frames & trusses

Learn what to look for to ensure good performance of frames and trusses, including truss orientation, condition and placement, the required connections of frames and trusses to supporting elements and correct bracket installation.

Presenter: Tim Rossiter, Chief Engineer at MiTek Australia, is a civil engineer with around 20 years industry experience. Tim sat on the first committee to develop the Australian Standard for timber truss installation – AS4440, 1997.


Checking BASIX certificates, inspection problems, any tips and tricks that will help Certifiers carry out their jobs and any other relevant information that Certifiers should be aware of.

Presenter: Matthew Parnell, Application Solutions

Event Details
Where:  Parramatta RSL, Cnr Macquarie and O’Connell Streets, Parramatta

When:  Wednesday 23 Nov 2011

Time:   3:00pm to 6:00pm – register from 2:30pm

Visit the AAC website:

Register online at:

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AAC Seminar 8 November: Fire panels & alarm signalling

8 November 2011 (Tues) 3:00-6:00pm, Sydney
About this event

Fire indicator panel

See a working example of a common fire panel, an overview of what fire panels can do, what the fire fighter interface does and other interactions. This session will involve an interactive working fire panel.

Presenter: Dennis Dinse, joint Director of FESC Pty Ltd. Dennis has over 20 years’ experience in the fire protection industry and 14 years’ experience in HVAC, Building Management Systems, etc. He is a qualified Fire Safety Auditor, Licensed Electrician, Licensed Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic (HVAC).

His experience extends to Federal, State & Local Governments, Financial Institutions, Hotels, Public Transport Infrastructure, and Aged Care Facilities.
ASE Fire Brigades Link test

How to test it, connection test, how to identify connection, what should Certifiers be looking/asking for, what services does FRNSW expect to be monitored and alarm signalling.

Presenters: Romtek and Fire & Rescue New South Wales

Event Details
Where :    Citigate Central Sydney,  169-179 Thomas Street,  Sydney NSW 2000

When:     Tuesday 8 Nov 2011

Time:     3:00pm to 6:00pm – register from 2.30

Visit the AAC website:

To register:  Register online at:

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September 2011

It’s that time of year again, where we get to come together to catch up with colleagues and learn a little something too at the AAC Conference. This will be our sixth annual event and registrations have exceeded expectations. This is a testament to the strength of our membership and the professionalism of accredited certifiers.

With each conference, we endeavour to balance informative and appropriate presentations while still allowing enough time for members to network and socialise. Certifiers are very busy and we appreciate you taking a day out of your full schedules to join us in Sydney.

There will be lots of opportunity to interact and ask questions at the conference, with our first session following up from the June forum on the reliance on certificates. Lawyer Anthony Hudson and the BPB’s Neil Cocks and I will be discussing the actions taken since the June forum and we will talk about the next steps.

After the June forum, discussions were held with industry representatives and the BPB, and from these meetings the Association has drafted a Member Guideline on handling third party certificates, with the aim of protecting certifiers while addressing the concerns and findings of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. We will be presenting these draft Guidelines at the Conference, where they can be discussed more fully.

We are meeting with Sue Holliday and the members of the Board next week. There are a number of issues that we will discuss. Some issues, such as the alignment of insurance and liability and our campaign for the accreditation of everyone involved in the building process, seem to be discussed at every meeting and we are optimistic that these issues will be resolved soon. We will also be discussing education and attracting young people into the profession.

We met with the Planning Review Panel last month, where we provided feedback and gave a different perspective of planning to that of many others within the industry. We will be making a written submission putting forward our suggestions for the revised planning system. You can read the notes from our meeting, and all consultation meetings, at the Planning Review Panel’s website:

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February 2011

2010 saw a number of challenges for certifiers and 2011 is shaping up to be another big year.

Certifiers face a lot of new challenges in coming months with the introduction of the new Schedule 1 Access Code for Buildings in the BCA 2011. These standards will bring significant change to building access requirements. The BPB has released a discussion paper on the Standards and has invited submissions from Certifiers. Submissions are due by 28 February.

More changes to the Housing and Commercial Codes come into effect this month – click here for details. The Department of Planning has published some early statistics on the impact of the Codes. Interestingly, during 2009-10, Certifiers in the private sector determined 58% of total Complying Development Certificates , equating to 78% of the total value of the building works in this category.

We have all been invited to have a say on the Building Professionals Act 2005 and whether it remains valid or what changes may be required. I would encourage all AAC members to look at the Act and send submissions to the BPB.

With the State election looming, the biggest effect on Certifiers this year could well be a change of Government. The AAC Executive team recently met with the Shadow Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, to introduce ourselves and make known our unique position in the industry as well as to offer any assistance where required. Mr Hazzard is well acquainted with the role of certifiers and he has extensive knowledge of the industry and is keen to work with us if his Party is elected in March.

Craig Hardy
AAC President

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Important message from the AAC President

At no time since the introduction of certification some 10 years ago has our industry faced a greater challenge then the one that we face today.

We have ridden the challenge of pioneering a new profession, experienced the difficulties of interpreting and implementing amendments to poorly written legislation, withstood the scrutiny of competitors in Government and finally and by no means least we have addressed the demanding expectations of the communities that we serve.

Over the years we have sought a level playing field from the relevant authorities in relation to matters relating to competitive neutrality, insurance, development consent conditions and consistency in the treatment of Certifiers.

Today we face the greatest challenge in our time as we deal with the increasing demands of those that we encounter in our daily activities. Not only are we required to deal with the competing expectations of Governments, Owners, Builders and other professionals we are now required to deal with the changing expectations of the Courts and Administrators.

Recent decisions in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) and the direction taken by Building Professionals Board (BPB) have altered the boundaries of how certification will now operate in New South Wales from that which has commonly been held by practising Certifiers and the majority of those that work in industry.

Both the Tribunal and the Board have made it very clear that the role of a Certifier is one that is significantly different and the responsibilities that had been traditionally undertaken by building surveyors employed in Local Government have changed.

Historically it was recognised that no one individual can know everything about the building industry and therefore be solely responsible for ensuring that a building complies with all aspects of the Building Code of Australia and the related Australian Standards.

However, these recent decisions have placed a serious cloud over the legitimacy of Certifiers, both private and local Government, decision to accept certificates from a third party for the installation of building components such as fire safety installations, electrical systems, waterproofing membranes, plumbing and drainage, and termite barriers and the like. In addition to this, the acceptance of certificates from suitably qualified professionals such as structural and hydraulic engineers must now be seriously questioned.

The implications of this decision on Certifiers employed in both Local Government and the private sector are the most serious threat yet to the validity of our profession and the viability of the building industry overall.

All professionals involved in the certification of buildings and building components are threatened by the impacts of this recent turn of events. Not only do these decisions place an unnecessary burden of risk on certifiers they could lead to a decision to make the industry uninsurable and at the very least it will change the way that Certifiers interact with Builders, Architects and Owners.

It would appear that overnight the role of the Certifier has changed to include that of the Builder, Owner and Project Manager with total responsibility for all actions and activities undertaken in relation to the construction of a building.

The cost of certifying buildings to the industry and the risk projected on to those responsible for fulfilling the role of Certifier has suddenly brought the validity of the certification industry into question whilst also placing increasing pressures on the affordability of buildings.

The Association Accredited Certifiers convened an important public meeting held on Wednesday 8 June where industry professionals discussed this concerning change to the building industry.

A large number of Certifiers and participants in the building industry attended and sent a clear message to both the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and the Building Professionals Board.

The Association is continuing to work with industry groups and the Government on this issue, with the aim of achieving a result that is sensible and beneficial for the industry and the community.

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