Embracing Change: The Role of Certifiers in Transforming the NSW Building Industry

Change, they say, is the only constant in life. Yet, it is human nature to meet change with a blend of anxiety and resistance, fearing the unknown and potential losses more than anticipating gains.

March 14, 2024

Change, they say, is the only constant in life. Yet, it is human nature to meet change with a blend of anxiety and resistance, fearing the unknown and potential losses more than anticipating gains. Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than in the recent reforms shaking the foundation of the New South Wales (NSW) building industry.

Under the stewardship of David Chandler, these reforms are not just necessary; they are overdue. The past years have witnessed the building industry veering off course, culminating in a spate of housing and apartment developments marred by defects, leaving consumers disgruntled and out of pocket. The trajectory needed a correction, and Chandler’s reforms are steering the industry towards a renewed focus on quality and integrity.

The Crucial Role of Building Certifiers

At the heart of this cultural shift are the building certifiers, whose role has never been more pivotal. In the wake of the housing boom, it became evident that not all certifiers were up to the task, with many losing their accreditation following spot audits by the Commission. This, however, has only underscored the importance of their role in upholding standards and fostering best practices within the industry.

Building certifiers now find themselves at the forefront of a movement — from a mindset of cutting corners to one of striving for excellence. They are not merely gatekeepers but advisors, guiding builders beyond the threshold of compliance to explore best practices that ensure reduced risk and better outcomes. It is a transformative role, offering insights that, if heeded, could significantly mitigate future project risks.

Beyond Compliance: Asking the Right Questions

The industry is notorious for its fast-paced nature, often at the expense of quality and diligence. When defects arise, the instinctive response has been quick fixes — temporary solutions that fail to address the root of the problem. Chandler’s reforms urge a departure from this mindset, advocating for a deeper inquiry into the causes of non-compliance.

A significant focus has been placed on the qualifications of tradespeople, particularly in areas as critical as waterproofing. The reforms have unveiled a plethora of dubious qualifications, highlighting the need for stringent verification of skills and expertise. This is a call to action for builders to demand more from their subcontractors, to ensure that only those with verifiable qualifications and a commitment to compliance are part of their projects.

Certifiers as Agents of Change

Building certifiers have emerged as significant agents of change within the NSW building reforms. They are tasked with not only keeping abreast of legislative and regulatory changes but also embodying the shift towards best practices that Chandler has championed. Their role extends beyond inspection to education, influencing builders and developers to adopt a mindset of continuous improvement and integrity.

The journey towards reform is fraught with challenges, with some builders struggling to adapt to the changing landscape, leading to slower approvals. Yet, the ultimate goal remains clear: to deliver properties that consumers can trust, free from the spectre of defects and liabilities.


The path to reform in the NSW building industry is complex, navigating through years of ingrained practices towards a future where quality and compliance are paramount. Building certifiers stand at the vanguard of this change, driving a culture shift that promises to redefine the industry.

As we embrace these changes, the focus must remain on continuous improvement, on asking the right questions, and on holding every stakeholder to the highest standards. The reforms spearheaded by David Chandler are not just about regulation but about building a legacy of excellence and reliability.

For consumers, builders, and certifiers alike, the journey ahead is one of opportunity — a chance to rebuild confidence in an industry vital to the fabric of society. Let us move forward with a shared commitment to excellence, for an industry that not only builds structures but fosters trust and pride in every project undertaken.

Read more about consumer rights and the impact of these reforms