Building controls and regulation


Many countries and states are undertaking re-modelling of the construction planning system to promote the economic growth and development, protect environment, social welfare and sustainable development.

The building control and numerous regulations have been developed and amended to ensure consistent business performance and fulfil the health, safety and sustainability requirements of an advanced society (Pacheco-Torgal, and Jalali, 2012).

This report seeks to examine the performance based codes and system of building certification and control system in different Australian states and international countries.

The development and implementation of Performance Based Legislation (PBL)

Regulatory control system has purpose of framing regulations, codes and controls to ensure the compliance of the construction standards. It contains the specifications and regulations that are considered in construction works. It is required for the builders to attain permission from a specific council to abide these standards.

Historical Development of PBL Internationally:

Previously, the building regulations include only descriptive specifications on construction aspect such as phases, material to be used, and acceptance of material.

The building failure and concerns towards purpose and safety to workers and occupants in emergency or unspecified events draw attention towards reviewing plans and building and construction compliance as per specification and codes. However, evaluating the level of performance achieved by the specifications remained a challenge (Succar, 2009).

The specification limited to address building classes and did not recognise hoe adequate performance can be offered for unique building. Thus, this led to development of performance based building regulatory system to emphasise on building outcomes, operative (functional) requirements and criteria for performance instead of specifications.

This also reflects on meeting the society expectations.

Thus, Performance based legislation (PBL) is related to the enhancement in the performance benefits in terms of safety, health and welfare for a certain utility. This was done by setting minimum requirements for design and construction.

It focuses on the incentive directives for utilities. Increasing impact of globalisation on the trades of the countries across the world has raised the need of adopting PBL worldwide.

The performance based approach was adopted to modify the way European commission directives for internal market synchronization was summarised for member states. As a result, 27 EU member states re-drafted their approach towards building regulations.

Over the past decade, the globalization has affected the development of policies in different fields including uniform building codes. In the North America, MRP (Multi-year plans) advocated the amenities that were focused on the need of marketing tractability (Simab et al., 2012).

These plans are considered as a specific concern to PBL across the world. With the focus on this concern, it became possible to facilitate the construction of lines of telecommunication, railway and oil and gas pipelines.

However, the focus on such concern and concept facilitated the development of markets with different competition forces but relying on similar kind of fundamental resources.

This concept developed in 1979 as there was focus on the utilization of cost and output research in the archival information. Later, this concept shifted to Canada and progressed onward to the USA especially in energy sector. In the construction sector, the need of this legislation rose in relation to the minimum design requisites in 1796 to 1750 BC.

It was present in form of Hammurabi’s Code stating that the structure of home should not kill living thing (Simab and Haghifam, 2012). In 1965, this concept moved to France attributed to Blachere and the Agreement.

In next 50 years, the progress in the development and acceptance of this concept was stagnant because of lacking of innovative modifications. In 20th century, there was need to incorporate flexibility in the concept due to the increasing globalization.

There was need of transferring resources inter country and continent.  Apart from this, resource privatization has also facilitated the enactment of such legislation during last 20 years by different countries across the world.

Other areas where PBL is extending:

From the chronological historical evidence, it is clear that PBL was accepted in different sectors as it was executed in telecommunications and railway sectors to enhance the connectivity in relation to import and export system within and between states.

After this, PBL was accepted by the energy sector including oil and gas to enhance the performance level of operations. Further, this trend was followed by the construction and building area. However, this trend was followed before in the 1700 BC but there was no flexibility and conformation to experience that restricted its wide acceptance.

There were only minimal safety procedures and codes rather than performance standards (Meacham, 2010). But after this, the inclusion of performance standards and flexible terms made this legislation more suitable for other areas. The benefits of this legislation also enable many other areas like health sector and pollution regulatory systems to follow it.

Advantages and disadvantages of PBL:

PBL provides guidelines and standards to complete the works appropriately and meet the customer specifications accordingly. It is helpful in efficacy control and makes sure that the set standards are met properly and all the requirements of customer are fulfilled adequately.

It also enables the organizations to obtain an optimum performance with the maximum utilization of the available resources including raw materials, workforce and money. It is significant to generate sufficient revenues and maximize the customer satisfaction (He et al., 2016).

Apart from this, PBL also provides flexibility that makes the work more interesting and efficient design and allow for enhancing the overall building output. It is also advantageous for the designers to explain the known risks and design environments in order to meet certain performance requirements in terms of energy efficiency, safety and load.

But at the same time, the use of PBL raises the need for increased understanding including design professionals and supply, installation, routine service and maintenance chain. It may increase the financial burden on the company if it adopts PBL in its operations.

Apart from this, there is need of gradual increase in the capability of practitioners while adopting such regulations and standards for achieving compliance (Alvehag and Söder, 2011). In addition, installers do not possess a performance based mindset as they emphasize the delivery of prescribed solutions as per contracts with the consideration of traditional prescriptive codes.

Building Certification/Control systems in different Australian states

New South Wales


The building certifications and regulations form an significant area in the planning system in this state to ensure safe buildings, meet performance expectations during construction phases and in its lifetime and support sustainable development.

The kind of approval need to undertake any building work in this state is specified under The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 (Clancey and Fisher, 2016). This act also takes account of building work to be in compliance and implemented as per Building code of Australia (Pérez-Lombard et al., 2011). A.

The department of planning and environment holds responsibility for the building approval and regulations in this state. It administers the building control system, ongoing developments under this act along with Assessment Regulation, 2000. In current scenario, the NSW government is introducing reforms to strengthen the existing building regulation and certification system for the state.

The licensing is the state is managed and controlled by the NSW Department of Fair Trading (Troy et al., 2015). The qualification and experience required is minimum 2 years in the industry for different construction types and stages and require a qualification certification in Certificate IV in Building and Construction.


Queensland has introduced a private building certification system in year 1998. The state has established the Queensland Code and Practice for the Building and Construction Industry which comprises of codes for specific regions.

The building regulations and control systems and building permit and certifications are maintained by Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) in the state. In Queensland, the Building Act, 1975 has defined grouping for temporary structures. When structure is small, it falls under section 35 and 37 of General exception of Queensland Heritage Act 1992 and is excused from a permit.

The large structures (more than 500m2) require a development permit (Morrissey and Horne, 2011). The development applications is assessed though Integrated Development Assessment System under Integrated Planning Act 1997 for getting approval (Keogh et al., 2011). The temporary structures also required to comply with regulations of the local government.

The Builder Licence Application form is required for licensing. Another form required to be submitted is Building and Designer Experience form which include qualifications such as minimum 2 to 4 years detail of experience covering construction type, work coordination, building class, no. of storeys.

It also require technical qualification, financial requirements, trading name identity proof and three written references for supervision experience. The practitioners under licensing require lodging design certificate, specification and plans, building solutions and approval from referral agencies with the department of housing and public works.

The licensing procedure takes six to eight weeks.  During audits, inspection certificate, clearance from referral agencies, suitability of material, building compliance with Australian codes standard is reviewed.


The two main legislative documents within this state have been the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations, 2006 (Pacheco-Torgal and Jalali, 2012). The building act is to regulate the building standards and building work including plumbing.

The act offer system to obtain building permits, provide certification for building work, plumbing work certification and accreditation of building materials. It also provides permit for buildings and inspections to provide safety and secure health of people are involved in construction and use of buildings for public and improve building amenities.

The Act also facilitates the construction of energy efficient and environmental friendly building. The building regulations enforce the Building code of Australia and regulate the building practices in the Victoria state. It also set down standards for the demolition of buildings and maintenance of fire safety and other safety measures.

The building regulations and control systems under Building Act are preserved by Building commission of Victoria. The Victoria Building commission administer builders and certifiers and includes four bodies which are building advisory council, building regulations advisory committee, building practitioners’ board, and building appeals board (March and Rijal, 2015).

The licensing (known as registration) is managed and regulated by Victorian Building Authority. There are different type of builder registration such as limited, unlimited and manager for domestic and commercial builders. The qualification need to meet criteria such as minimum 3 years of experience as full time as domestic or commercial builder, knowledge of national building codes.

In addition, the registration process also requires undergoing a written test and sometimes followed by an interview.

Building Certification/Control systems in different International Countries


In 1941, the national building code of Canada (NBC) was made known. The country adopted national code documents as the base for building and fire regulations that are objective-based codes. The NBC incorporates and embark technical provisions for the new buildings for its design and construction and applicable to any modification, demolition and change of building use for existing building.

It covers all the compliance preferences, functional details and objectives, administrative provisions and accepted solutions for builders and certifiers. The objective based codes in national code documents were made published in 2005 which reflect on the building performance level acceptable to the societies.

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) decides for the content of national code documents (Kegel et al., 2012). It played a major role in investigating the feasibility of transforming the nation code documents to a performance based code format.

The licensing requirements in the country needs practitioner to acquire Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) and then undergo an examination program for the relevant area of their practice. The qualification for the examination requires knowledge of building codes and related act.

Thus, registration is required with the ministry on annual basis done through results obtained from online qualification and registration tracking system known as Qualification and Registration Tracking System (QuARTS) for building practitioners. The qualification requirement is minimum 2 years experience in area of management and supervision of residential construction in last five years.


In USA, the federal government has a little role and involvement in the building regulatory system. The building regulation of the country is taken care by individual states.

The individual states such as Boston, Virginia, etc.  and local jurisdiction hold responsibilities for circulation and enforcement of building codes and linked to membership driven organisation and private sector (Kontokosta, 2011). The country has performance based legislation but it is not adopted and enforced equally.

The model building code development organizations such as BOCAI for northeast, ICBO for the west, and SBCCI for southeast were adopted that act independently on a regional basis across the country (Skalko, 2013).

As these codes was different involved many local jurisdiction for over 50 states created concern for the construction industry and bear high cost and uncertainty for the builders and certifiers operating interstate.

Thus, in 1990 the three models were combined into one, International Code Council (ICC) and also let to development of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in model building code (Nanni, 2012).

Both these, investigated for the performance-based format to simply building codes and each of the body developed each developed model performance-based codes such as ICC Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities (ICCPC)  and Building Construction and Safety Code (NFPA 5000) for adoption across the country.

New Zealand

The building legislation is popular as Raupo House Ordinance, 1982 for new buildings initially in this state. This got replaced by the Municipal Corporation Act, 1867. Due to a severe earthquake in 1931, a model building by law was established in 1935 which were adopted gradually by all the municipal authorities.

It coves issues related to earthquake resistance, fire safety, sanitation, etc.  The national government established Building Industry Commission and also introduced law related to plumbing work, electrical wiring and minimum room sizes.

The building commission establish legal and regulatory framework for construction and maintenance of building within the country. The Building Act 1991 was passed which cover all building including government buildings to company with this Act and Building Code requirements.

The performance-based Building Code were set by national government in 1992 to provide a reliable system to building control across the country, and also facilitate flexibility in compliance of the code (Morrissey and Horne, 2011).

Under this, act few reforms were initiated such as defining the duties and function of municipal authorities, builders, inspection agent and certifiers, set up appeal process, issue of project information memoranda and inspection and maintenance of safety systems like lifts, emergency warning devices and development of Building Industry Authority to monitor municipal authorities and private building, certifiers, etc. performance in maintaining and adhering to the code.

The licensing is under Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) as a builder registration system to carry out construction or supervision of building work. Registration is assessed after every 24 months. The practitioners are required to undertake workshop on skill maintenance, attend seminars and engage in supervision of apprentices in adherence to LBP rules.

Comparison of International Building Control Systems with the Australian System i.e., Public vs. Private

The international country (New Zealand) follows international trend, in respect to which country decide to improve framework of building control system. British and Japanese are the countries which begin to use the PBL in the mid1980s, and in addition, Australia also shown their interest through Warren Centre report in 1980s.

Moreover, Australia also moved away constrains and also focused on maximizing the flexible design for building regulation and this lead to gain popularity around the world.  In New Zealand, building control regulation system reform was develop in year 2004 and found to be different from other countries reforms (Morrissey and Horne, 2011).

The main objective of 1991 reforms is to encourage the people towards innovation in building industry by using performance based building code. The building code is different in other countries and is based on Nordic model that involve a hierarchy of requirement.

There are 5 level of hierarchy in New Zealand related to this specific building control regulation system which is found as similar as Australian control regulation system.

For verifying the building control system, it is identified that New Zealand is highly different from Australian system because there is difference in a building work which include design proposed building stage and verifying the compliance for code and then checking the consent at last completion stage.

The verification or checking is need to be done on a regular basis whether building work control system covers the entire fitness regime such as lifts, fire alarms, etc.

On the other hand, independent qualified person need to be given responsibility for inspection and maintenance so that they can go to government for registration process.

However, this building control system of New Zealand briefly allows to become nationalized. Australia has its own building control system and verification regimes such as building work need to be submitted to local council or private certifier first for getting certified or approval but at the same time, Western Australia is not permitted to private certification.

In addition, building control administrative office must be qualified as well as private certifier also must have a certified license by the government. Further, on completion day, building is not made available to the client until the local council or private certifier need to verify the building.

If they have embraced PBL and how

The new class standard is developed on the basis of old standard which is called as acceptable solution. The acceptable solution was stated as a deemed compliance with a building code related to building control system verification. The new standard makes old standard embrace PBL (Performance Based Legislation) as it give the new way or energy into developing construction industry.

In context to it, building act claimed that there is one respective method for compliance with a building code. The method i.e., verification method is used for verifying the alternative solution and this method contained test that help in determining that alternative solution whether met Performance based legislation or not (Simab and Haghifam, 2012).

In addition, a proper description related to building control regime is developed in below stated diagram and this picture will clearly state that how expectation of public community is highly linked with building regulation.

The building control regulation system hierarchy of 1991 is as similar as BCA (Building and Construction Authority) in which 1st level is related to objectives, 2nd is related to functional statement, 3rd is related to performance requirement and further 4th & 5th level is related to deemed to satisfy & performance base method.

In this level, method is incorporated as PBL method and also provides different solution to it. Further, the hierarchy level from level 1st to 5th is designed according to our choice and in that both consent and inspection stage will help in testing whether project building performance is compliance with building code or not.

Advantages or disadvantages of each system compared to the Australian Systems


Advantages: ICC that has organised committees to improve the International Fire Code and International Building Code (Nanni, 2012). It includes terms for structural strength and stability, lighting and ventilation system, stability. The fire safety areas have changes to suit the building requirements.  International Building Code considers the safety and health concerns of the buildings based on detailed, prescriptive, performance requirements (Ching, 2014).

The ICC codes are compatible with IBC and IFC. It focuses on preventing unnecessary costs and treatment of construction material and methods and plan to protect user health, safety and welfare of public. The code provisions also facilitate new and smart technological innovation.

Disadvantages: Performance based format relies more on the arena of fire safety approaches and less on rate of fire construction facilities. New Zealand code allows the owner to have a detailed manual for the requirements and function, test, inspection and maintenance of building.


Advantages: The adoption of performance based format has led to application of new techniques and has overcome the barrier of objective based codes in the overall construction sector.

Disadvantages: The verification system is different of the country from Australia. In Canada, the process of approval and documentation vary in different jurisdictions which are thirteen as model national codes are specified legal consequence by regulatory legislation in different province (Kegel et al., 2012).

For building approval/regulations, issuing permits and verification of for verifying compliance is under responsibility given to the municipal government. This is time consuming and led to high cost due to construction delay.

New Zealand

Advantages: Under the building act, the new reforms for compulsory inspection have increased the reliance of the system making if more safe and beneficial for the involved parties.

Disadvantages: This has increased demanded for professional inspection and more time efforts for strict code enforcement.

Recommendations on PBL for the future

The recommendation to different country regulator is that they should extend their understanding level for performance-based regulation because it is found that regulatory bodies are lacking behind in understanding the importance of building code in PBL.

In addition to this, it is also suggested to them they need to focus more on performance based legislation rather than focusing towards developing a technical capacity by fully understanding the building base code in order to satisfy deemed requirements.

However, the different country regulatory body can also comprehensively using the building code and also can solve the difficulties by interpreting, verifying other problems in concern towards related building control provision.

Moreover, it is also recommend that they should be assisted by other two international organization named IRCC and CIB for achieving further development successfully (Dudnikova, 2016).

The government body of countries should get encourage for developing their own research and also need to depend on setting a plan & bring development into products & services.

As Australia has facilitated innovation concept, the government and private sector need to provide funding for new concept innovation which can be experiential information for designers (Simab and Haghifam, 2012). Thus, the report suggests allocating more funding from the builders and designers for performance based legislation to establish product/services acceptable at international market.


Based on the above sections, it can be summarised that building regulation hold relevance to fulfil the safety and reliability of the building structures. As technologies are changing at a fast pace, there is need for regulations and control systems to be updated to cope and adapt with new requirements.

Australian states and international countries has adopted different regulation specific to countries and province and are updated and modified in different time period.  Thus, looking at the dynamics it is suggested to improve funding and enforcement of the regulations to ensure user and public safety.


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