Has the Building Commissioner’s “retaliate” first approach worked?

building Commissioner’s “retaliate

Overall, David Chandler is doing a good job, but his Sunday roast of the industry is offensive and not right.

We have all watched over the last four years the Fair Trading NSW and it’s Building Commissioner’s Office adopt a “retaliate” first approach to building and strata industry professionals. This was closely followed by pats on the back from the media blitz.

As for the industry, we feel maybe your time is better spent reflecting on NSW government project incentives introduced.

We just think about the flop that Project Remediate is and the underwhelmingly poor execution of Project Intervene, whilst both, notwithstanding their performance and reputation, force feed the government’s media dribble.

This is not, at all, an accusation. It my humble evaluation of the public backlog and response on David Chandler’s Linkedin, notwithstanding pats on the back from those who wish to ingratiate themselves in the Commissioner’s eyes. Going through the last 4 years of posts on LinkedIn can only be described as self-flagellation at best.

I would never have wanted the Commissioner’s job, it is hard and mostly thankless. Interestingly the endeavour and the concept designed by NSW Government was never a gig doomed to fail, yet somehow, through its method of execution the industry is on a cliff’s edge.

Over the last 12 months, as a defects’ project manager, I have experienced owners fearful reluctance to approach the Fair Trading NSW and the bottom feeders of the strata management and remedial consulting world pushing everything through the “emergency works” escape hatch, even if it does not fit.

I have also witnessed some undertaking works as “Exempt Development” where this mould does not fit and in some instances understating actual works carried out to avoid scrutiny and associated cost escalation.

Over the last twelve months, Grays Rescue has resigned from two strata projects, where every attempt by Grays Rescue and the strata management team, to guide owners to adopt the legislative path had failed, leaving the professional team exposed.

It’s pretty hard to deny that, judging by the “Sunday Roast sessions” on LinkedIn, we as professionals are clearly in David Chandlers sights.

What’s next for the office of the NSW Building Commissioner? It would not surprise me at all, in a bid to remain relevant, they declared war on Lawyers, labelling some “ambulance chasers”.

No, instead I recommend the office of the building commissioner take a Sunday off from roasting some industry engineer, have a good self examination session instead and  take a good look at their own mode of operation and at the industry on a cliff’s edge. 

If I could pull David Chandler into a room, I would say your office is not Tommy Redonicas slapping the team mates around in a pre-match warm up. Start supporting the industry, or is this the only way you can remain relevant?

The Government is quickly becoming what they set out to eliminate and are heading to emerge on the wrong side of history.

I did not write this to slam the NSW Building Commissioner, I am first to put up my hand to look at some of the changes that qualify as a job well done.

But as I started to lay out my genuine concerns, I realise we are touching on a great topic that everyone is scared to bring to the surface. My aim is not to offend, my aim is to point out how critical it is in addressing the gap between the regulator and the industry:

The education

The regulator should put more resources and efforts into compulsory education of the market stakeholders (from the financer to the labourer) and very importantly, the building management industry working at the ground level.

The only genuine education that has been add value education that counts has come from an industry leading Strata Lawyer firm who has held comprehensive webinars aimed at educating the building management sector overlooked.

The NSW Strata Community Association continues to do their part for the industry however it is focussed at strata professionals, the building management has had no focused education.

If Grays Rescue is hearing correctly, the industry wants real education elements that count for the industry perspectives of construction not just merely videos on how to use the portal and what the legislations are, it’s fair to say the Commissioners office have had this feedback for some time.

We need to address what is the duty of care under DBP and what involved for all project stakeholders. Clear and concise education solutions prepared by industry experts, not academic and government representatives.


The differences between the statuary warranty and duty of care needs to be thoroughly addressed in terms of insurance policies that would cover all construction and strata professional personnel exposed to such.

Ambiguous terms within the RAB and DBP Acts, these terms need to be legally defined

We were told one of the main goals of RAB and DBP acts is to minimize the legal proceedings and create a clear pathway of responsibilities and liabilities.

However, with ambiguous terms involved this goal is far from achievement. DBP and RAB definitions need to be professionally stipulated.

It’s time to start a conversation on where we are and what steps would be proper to address. The industry is on the cliffs edge, the NSW Building Commissioner Office first go to throw on the kicking boots every Sunday, and roast the industry instead of meaningful education.

4 Years of the NSW Building Commissioner’s Office and  legislative changes with puzzling and seemingly rushed implementation, has created a whole other range of issues that need to be addressed by education.

Author Chris Gray
Grays Rescue

Author: Chris Gray