The six-person panel that will conduct a review of Victoria’s building regulation has been appointed, and includes the former chair of a similar independent review in the United Kingdom that was commissioned following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.
Among the apointees is engineer Judith Hackitt, chair of the UK government’s Independent Review of Building regulations and Fire Safety and former chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive. Hackitt’s review of the building standards in the UK was published in 2018 and made more than 50 recommendations for reform.
The other panelists are Melanie Fasham (past president of the Master Builders Association of Victoria and member of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee), Gerry Ayers (health and safety manager of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Construction and General Division – Victorian /Tasmanian Branch) and Ian Bailey (founding chair of the Society of Construction Law Australia and professorial fellow at Melbourne Law School).
The review was ordered following a number of incidents in the building and construction industries, including the use of non-complaint materials, and the high-profile defects in apartment buildings in Sydney in 2019.
The panel will begin by establishing “overarching principles to guide the building system review and identify key themes to be investigated and addressed throughout the reform process.” It will also be tasked with addressing the recommendations of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce’s July 2019 Report and the Building Confidence report by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir (also referred to as the Shergold-Weir report).
The Australian Institute of Architects has been highly critical of what it views as the laggardly pace at which state and federal governments have implemented the recommendations in the Shergold-Weir report.