NIBA attends Building Stronger Homes Roundtable

NIBA attended a building resilience roundtable hosted by the Master Builders Association and the Insurance Council of Australia at NSW Parliament House. 

Written on 20 April, 2021
Allyssa Hextell

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) attended the third building Building Stronger Homes Roundtable at NSW Parliament House on Tuesday 20 April 2021 hosted by the Master Builders Association (MBC) and the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) at NSW Parliament House.

The Building Stronger Homes Roundtable series brings together insights, data and experience from builders, insurers, academics and government to improve the resilience and insurability Australian homes.  

More than fifty representatives from across the insurance and construction industries and government came together for a discussion on improving property resilience, building standards and land-use planning with the aim to identify key national priorities for ensuring Australian homes are resilient, secure and insurable in the face of increasingly frequent and severe weather activity.   

NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, the Hon. Kevin Anderson was in attendance and provided the assembly with an update on the work the NSW government has been undertaking to improve building resilience over the past 2 years.   

“I believe we are turning that around (..) we are getting on (with) the job of rebuilding that confidence in the market,” said the Minister. “One of the measures that we’ve been cutting through and pushing for better standards in this sector, is the introduction of a number of bills and acts of parliament” One such act is the Residential Apartment Buildings Act, which gives the office of the NSW Building Commissioner the power to enter building construction sites and conduct an audit. The Minister revealed that since September 2020 almost one thousand apartments had been subjected to “fix remediate orders” under the new Act. 

 Many builders are doing the right thing; many developers have the right intent,” said the Minister. “There are those who that aren’t, and we believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant and every regulation; the Design and Building Practitioner’s Act, the Residential Apartment Buildings Act, the Building and Development Certifiers Act will impact those not doing the right thing.” 

The roundtable also heard from representatives of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, who spoke about the important role of land use planning in preparing for natural disasters. They stressed the importance of decision-making authorities, such as local councils, to have access to accurate, in-depth data and information. The department also stressed that planning authorities must be willing and supported to make the tough decisions, even if that means declining development proposals in more affordable but higher risk areas. 

The main take-away from the session was the overwhelming support for cross-industry collaboration to ensure that Australians can continue to live, work and play on the land they love for future generations. 

ICA CEO Andrew Hall said the National Construction Code (NCC) needs to incorporate resilience as one of its objectives and adopt a position of improving the durability of homes into the future.

“Reducing the risk from the outset by ensuring the Codes and Standards take into account the resilience of homes, mitigation, infrastructure improvements and other measures will help to enhance national disaster resilience and recovery,” Mr Hall said.

MBA CEO Denita Wawn said it is important that reforms to land planning are also made across the country to ensure homes are able to withstand the local natural hazard risks.

“Local and State Governments need to work together to reform their planning frameworks so there is better guidance for home owners about local natural hazard risks and what they can do to mitigate these,” Ms Wawn said.

The roundtables will conclude in mid 2021, with the release of a final report and recommendations for government and industry