Page 1299 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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If asbestos removal involves critical building work, a licensed asbestos removalist can do the work but must also be, or be supervised by, a licensed builder. Work that does not affect the structure of a building will only require a licensed asbestos removalist and will generally be exempted from construction and building laws, particularly by the schedules of exempt building work under schedule 1 of the Building (General) Regulation 2008.

I now turn to the other amendments made by the bill that are asbestos related. A large proportion of the bill deals with what I think could be called a tidy up of the various building and construction laws to remove obsolete references to asbestos. As I said earlier, asbestos-related laws were moved to the work, health and safety and dangerous substances laws last year. These laws now deal with asbestos codes, and references to asbestos in the Building Act are obsolete. Part 2 of the bill—clauses 7, 14 to 17, 20 and 21—removes references to asbestos from the Building Act. Part 3—clauses 23, 25, and 28 to 33—removes references to asbestos from the building regulation. Part 5 of the bill—clauses 27 to 40—removes references to asbestos in the Constructions Occupations (Licensing) Regulation, and part 4 removes references to asbestos in the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004.

In making the amendments to the building legislation I have just discussed, the opportunity has also been taken in this bill to consolidate and clarify Building Act exemption provisions, including where they relate to asbestos. The present structure of the Building Act in this regard was rather convoluted, so the intention of the proposed amendments is to clarify and simplify the exemption provisions. The bill amends provisions related to the exemption of building work from the operation of the Building Act or parts of the act. Existing sections l5, 65 and 83 of the act relate to the exemption of building work from the relevant parts of the act. This is in contrast to the single exemption provision for “a building” in section 152 of the act that applies to all of the act or parts of the act. These differing approaches to exemptions are unnecessary and can lead to confusion. The concept of building work is work related to a building under section 6 of the act and, as such, the concepts are closely interwoven and the exemption structure should be the same for both.

Clauses 18 and 19 of the bill amend section 152 of the act, so this exemption provision refers to both building work and a building. Consistent with the approach of the exemptions in existing section 152, the new provision makes it clear that exemptions for building work can apply to the act as a whole or any specified element of the act. With the amendment of section 152, sections 15, 65 and 83 are no longer required and clauses 6, 10 and 12 omit these sections from the Building Act. Various other clauses of the bill make consequential amendments to these substantive amendments—for example, clauses 8, 9, 13 and 18.

Also as part of clarifying the term “building work” in the Building Act, clause 5 of the bill inserts a new note in section 6 of the Building Act as a reminder that although section 6 defines the term “building work” for the act, part 6 of the act uses this concept differently. In part 6 the term “building work” excludes demolition of a whole building. There is no substantive change made by this amendment. As I have said, it is to ensure that the reader is alerted that part 6 and section 6 have different definitions of “building work”.

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