Helping commercial property owners avoid the pitfalls of compliance.
3 May 2017

For commercial property owners, navigating compliance requirements can be tough at the best of times, especially in a constantly changing regulatory environment. Bill Franks, a Total Construction shareholder and member of the Australian Institute of Building, sheds some light on the subject.

“Whereas a big multinational company has a team of people checking compliance, if you’re a Mum-and-Dad business, or own a warehouse where you want to produce goods for sale, you don’t have access to that kind of resource. For starters, it’s important to understand which regulations you need to comply with. A commercial building comes under the Building Act and National Construction Code; what used to be known as the Building Code of Australia. Section J (Energy Efficiency) of the NCC, along with essential fire services, have been catching people out for a number of years now. Plus, with the ‘Access to Premises’ standard, a minor addition or alteration to a commercial building can now involve some serious upgrades to services like water, electricity and insulation just to mention a few.”

Bill adds that, with changes to Australian standards, some buildings now require fire sprinklers as well. “For example, water pressures have changed, and sprinklers now require water storage tanks and a set of pumps, which can sometimes cost around a half a million dollars.”

So, what can you do to make sure your building ticks all the boxes? “The first thing is to establish the scope of the development, then work out where it might be non-compliant and if your budget stretches to bringing it up to standard. You can find a copy of NCC online but it can be difficult to make sense of it if you’re not a lawyer or building professional. My advice would be to get a report from a Building Certifier. Ensuring compliance can be quite onerous dollars-wise. By enlisting the services of a professional, you can avoid a host of problems in future.”

Got questions? Leave a message in the comments or contact the Total Construction team directly. We’re here to help!