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Building Commissioner

Meet David Chandler OAM, the NSW Building Commissioner. 

Watch the Commissioner's podcasts

In this video, David speaks with Angela Kamper, Executive Director Brand, Digital and Communications, Department of Customer Service, about the Occupation Certificate Audits which began in September.

8 October 2020


On this page

Our work

The Commissioner is building:

  • Action: Implementing legislation and regulation and transforming the focus of the regulator.
  • Outcome: NSW has a strong customer focused regulatory framework.

  • Action: Work with ratings agencies, insurers and financiers to assist in better selection of industry participants.
  • Outcome: Move away from one-size-fits-all participant recognition and better identify risky players.

  • Action: Improve accreditation of construction related programs through improved standard modules.
  • Outcome: Shared minimum learning content and open source resources for all institutions.

  • Action: Establish clear standards for engagement and outputs.
  • Outcome: Viable risk allocation and performance accountability. 

  • Action: Digitise the NSW Building Industry and move away from analogue record keeping.
  • Outcome: Shared industry wide platforms that build confidence. 

  • Action: Evidence based approach to accessing and closing the gap via case studies and other research. 
  • Outcome: Baseline and measurement against our ability to improve confidence in the industry. 

Each of the pillars above has its own working group, made up of professionals with lived knowledge and experience of the subject before them.

The Office of the NSW Building Commissioner sits within the Department of Customer Service, and shares expertise with NSW Fair Trading and SafeWork NSW.

Construct NSW is the Government reform program led by the Office of the Building Commissioner that will restore public confidence in the construction industry, particularly for multi-storey residential apartments.

Better Regulations Division

13 September 2020

David speaks with Peter Dunphy, Executive Director, Compliance and Dispute Resolution, Better Regulation Division.

Redefining the industry

29 July 2020

David speaks with Chris Duggan, President of Strata Communities Australia (SCA) about the role of Strata Managers and the impact of the new legislative reforms.

Redefining the industry

29 June 2020

David speaks with Karen Stiles, Executive Officer of the Owners Corporation Network about what the new Bills mean for consumers of NSW. 


Addressing the confidence crisis

3 September 2020

Clayton Utz interview the Building Commissioner about the key objectives and strategies for reforming the building sector. [58 minutes]

Digital environment e-planning

7 July 2020

David speaks with Tanya O’Brian, Director of Data and Information Management, Department of Industry, Environment and Planning, who shares some insights about building the e-Planning portal.

Industry challenges

14 June 2020

David talks about the building industry’s future with Kathlyn Loseby, President of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects.


Construct NSW reform program

30 July 2020

David speaks with Matt Press, Director of the Office of the Building Commissioner, about implementing the Construct NSW reform program..

Redefining the industry

30 June 2020

David discusses redefining the construction industry with Brian Siedler AM, Executive Director of MBA.

Sharpening our priorities

11 May 2020

David gives an update on legislative reform and other key projects that will help to rebuild consumer confidence in the NSW property market.

Read the Commissioner's blogs

Creating trusted players in the NSW multi-unit residential market. Fast.

Who will be the trusted players in the NSW multi-unit residential market by the end of 2021? What will incentivise them?
David and builders on site

Read the Commissioner's statements

The NSW Government is committed to achieving and maintaining best practice regulation across all the industries that it regulates, and the building sector is no exception.

The Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (D&BP Act) and The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 (RAB Act) passed by NSW Parliament in June are designed to restore public confidence in the building industry and are based on broad engagement with industry stakeholders and the wider public.

The RAB Act comes into effect on 1 September 2020. It solidifies the powers of the regulator to investigate defects in residential apartment buildings, including requiring rectification of defective work and enforcing penalties.

The Office of the NSW Building Commissioner will have new resources on the ground in the lead up to 1 September to implement a new program of audits for buildings nearing completion and existing projects.

First steps for reporting apartment building defects

A common issue is that many owners of apartment buildings with material defects have not notified NSW Fair Trading of their problems – and sometimes the reporting is years after owners’ corporations first became aware of the issues.
NSW Fair Trading is the first point of contact for anyone with or unable to resolve a building defect problem with a building practitioner.

The Office of the NSW Building Commissioner is working closely with NSW Fair Trading to resolve problems when defects are reported – and we urge owners corporations to promptly report any concerns as soon as they identify major defects to ensure the best outcome.

Owners corporations and their advisers have a duty of care to ensure defective buildings are being dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner to help protect existing and future owners.

Advice to buyers of new apartment buildings approaching completion

We’re less than two months away from the RAB Act coming into effect. Some developers may attempt to have occupation certificates approved ahead of this date when works may not be fully complete.

During this period, if apartment purchasers, builders and certifiers are being put under pressure to complete and/or settle when building work is clearly still happening, please contact NSW Fair Trading online.

The majority of developers are delivering quality compliant apartment buildings

While there are a small number of industry players who don’t do the right thing,
the majority are good developers building good quality projects. Consumers can have increased confidence in the market if they or their advisers do a little homework.

Prospective buyers should ask developers about projects they have completed in the last six years. They could then do some research on these properties by inspecting and asking owners about their experience.

They can also check NSW Fair Trading public registers for the compliance history and current status of contactors, tradespersons and builders NSW Fair Trading continues to remove registrations and licences from players not doing the right thing.

There are several parties currently being reviewed, including certifiers, builders and trades people like water proofing trades. Information regarding those players who have lost their licences can be checked via Service NSW.

Those developers, builders and certifiers not doing the right thing are on notice

Industry players that are doing the wrong thing – and developers that engage them – should be on notice that come 1 September the goal posts will have moved.

There will be consequences if they continue to serve up sub-standard buildings or certify projects that aren’t up to scratch. This includes manufacturers who are prepared to endorse substandard work.

Developers are also reminded that they are to have submitted their developer bonds and have as-built drawings and manuals available for their buildings prior to settlement.

We acknowledge that sometimes things may not always go to plan, and if this happens the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner and NSW Fair Trading is happy to work with developers and other parties in resolving any problems.

Meet the Commissioner

David Chandler OAM is the NSW Building Commissioner


David Chandler OAM, NSW Building Commissioner

David is improving the quality of construction and restoring trust in the industry.  

David has more than 40 years’ experience in the building and construction industry. 

David delivered major infrastructure and urban renewal projects including the new Parliament House in Canberra and Melbourne’s South Bank redevelopment.

David performed a leading role in inquiries into the performance of the building industry, including the Building Education Revolution – Implementation Review Taskforce. 

As Adjunct Professor in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at Western Sydney University (2017 to 2019), David helped shape the next generation of construction professionals.   

David founded the Centre for Smart Modern Construction at Western Sydney University, which invests in new academic and research capabilities for the construction sector. 

He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1989 for his services to the construction industry. 

Report a building defect

The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 applies to buildings up to 10 years old.

Homeowners and residents can report building defects or make a complaint to NSW Fair Trading.

Individual strata and community lot owners can report issues or make a complaint to NSW Fair Trading.


To report a serious injury, illness, death or a dangerous incident on a building site, call SafeWork on 13 10 50 immediately.

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