Page 2660 - Week 08 - Friday, 1 July 2005

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50 per cent rule are a consequence of industry concern about the practicality of the rule. This bill provides for a better application of that rule in the future.

Similarly, with the increasing attention and concern in the community relating to asbestos in homes, a gap was identified in relation to in situ asbestos in public infrastructure such as bridges and dams. The amendments recognise and address this issue by regularising existing industry practice. The asbestos provisions of this bill clarify the existing asbestos regime and ensure that it is understood that the asbestos requirements in the Building Act apply to all buildings and structures in the ACT, including bridges, dams and other types of public infrastructure. These provisions do not pre-empt the work of the asbestos task force; they simply clarify the regime. This will make the implementation of any recommendations of the task force simpler by ensuring that the regime is clearly understood.

The bill also deletes the clauses that would have put an end date to some of the asbestos provisions in the Building Act providing requirements to comply with the current asbestos regime. It was anticipated that the Building Act would not be the ultimate vehicle for such asbestos regulation. But for the time being, with the work of the task force ongoing, it is necessary that the asbestos provisions of the Building Act remain in place beyond September 2006, which is the date currently set down for their expiry. This amendment will save having later to extend the asbestos provisions as September 2006 approaches.

Clauses 1.3 and 1.4 of schedule 1 of the bill clarify that, where the Building Act requires work to conform to the act, work must also comply with the building code. This has always been the intent, but the clarification is considered beneficial. This provision applies particularly where work on a building triggers the 50 per cent rule, requiring the whole building to be brought into compliance with the building code. The 50 per cent rule requires that, where building work is being carried out on an existing building that amounts to 50 per cent of the volume of the building, the whole building must be brought into code compliance. Clause 1.4 provides certain exemptions to this rule to make it easier for building owners to meet the requirements.

The government recognises that in some instances it may not be practical for some part of the building to be retrofitted in such a way as to fully comply with the building code. For example, termite shields must be installed in brick walls at the time that bricks are laid. It would be impractical to take down existing brick walls to install termite shields. This provision will enable regulations to be made to provide for exemptions in such cases.

Clause 1.18 serves to clarify some of the wording in the examples provided in the building regulation, which provides examples of when the 50 per cent rule applies. This clause substitutes a new set of examples, which clarify wording but do not alter the intent of the examples. In addition to these provisions, clause 1.19 sets out technical requirements of exemptions to the 50 per cent rule. The requirements were formulated with extensive industry consultation.

The bill clarifies provisions in COLA that relate to rectification orders issued to people responsible for providing COLA construction services unlawfully and in a substandard matter. The bill removes any doubt that the rectification orders are applicable to

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