Architects and engineers responsible for building product safety under new laws

Construction Laws and Compliance

Architects and engineers are now identified as persons in the “chain of responsibility” for building product safety.

This extends the reach of the existing laws (discussed in our previous article) which impose obligations on all participants in the supply chain to ensure that building products are safe and fit for purpose.

The new laws apply to:

  • Engineers who are Registered Professional Engineers under the Professional Engineers Act 2002 (Qld); and
  • Architects registered under the Architects Act 2002 (Qld).

What are the duties?

Each person in the chain of responsibility for a building product has a duty:

  1. to ensure that the product is not a non-conforming building product;
  2. to ensure relevant information about the product (such as instructions for use) is provided with the design or product, as applicable. Architects and engineers must ensure the “prescribed information” is provided with any design issued by the architect or engineer;
  3. to not make false or misleading representations about a product’s compliance.

A failure to comply with these duties carries a maximum penalty exceeding  $100,000.

There are also obligations to notify the Queensland Building and Construction Commission of specified breaches of the laws.

What do architects and engineers need to do?

  1. Understand your obligations under the new provisions of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (QBCC Act);
  2. Ensure your systems and processes are adequate to identify any non-conforming building products and to ensure compliance with your duties under the QBCC Act;
  3. Ensure your insurances are suitable and adequate to extend to activities under the QBCC Act;
  4. Ensure that you’ve put good contract administration processes in place which allow you to identify and respond appropriately to questions of non-conforming building products as your projects unfold.

Not sure if you’re caught by this legislation or if your current processes comply? Get in touch and we’ll help you out.

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