Page 5648 - Week 15 - Thursday, 10 December 2009

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Part 2 of the bill amends COLA. The amendments to COLA create a new construction occupation of works assessor who, if licensed under COLA, can assess and collate stated requirements for a unit title application. It does this by amending section 7 of COLA to include a works assessor as a construction occupation and by inserting a new section 14A that provides a definition of a works assessor. A works assessor is an entity who provides, has provided or proposes to provide a works assessment service. A works assessment service is the doing of works assessment work. Works assessment work means preparing and providing a unit title assessment report under the UTA. Section 22B of the Unit Titles Act, which is inserted by clause 18 of the bill, sets out the requirements for a unit title assessment report.

Clause 9 of the bill inserts a new section 26A which details the entitlement to act as a works assessor. The clause effectively prevents self-certification, and ensures conflicts of interest cannot arise, by providing that an entity, other than the original entity, discharges the original entity’s interest by certifying the plans either as part of the development approval process or the building approval process or a works assessment service, done by another works assessor. An example of how section 26A(2)(b) works is as follows: a building designer draws up plans for a building. The building designer’s interest is discharged when the designer hands those plans to another entity for certification. In this instance, it would be in the form of a development approval where the authority is the decision maker in relation to those plans in the form of a development approval. A unit title plan is then prepared for the building and such a plan can only be prepared by a registered surveyor; that is, the building designer who drew the plans for the building cannot prepare the unit title plan. The building designer who drew the initial plans can then be engaged as the works assessor, without there being a conflict of interest, to complete the work of a unit title assessor in the form of a unit title assessment report.

It is a part of licence criteria under COLA for certain entities in the construction industry to have professional indemnity insurance. Sections 51 and 52 are amended by the bill to extend this requirement to those people who wish to do works assessment work.

Part 3 of the bill amends the UTA to require a unit title application to include a unit title assessment report that is not more than three months old in certain circumstances. The Planning and Land Authority may refuse to approve a unit title application if the applicant has not provided a unit title assessment report as required or if further information requested by the authority under section 22F has not been provided as required. It should be noted here that if not all required parts of the unit title assessment report have been included, the report will be taken as not having been provided with the application.

Clause 18 of the bill inserts a new division 3.1A which provides information about unit title assessment reports for unit title applications.

New section 22A inserts the meaning of unit title assessor. A unit title assessor means:

(a) a works assessor licensed under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act; or

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