The ABCB is a Council of Australian Government (COAG) standards writing body that is responsible for the development of the NCC, comprised of the BCA and the PCA. The ABCB is a joint initiative of all three levels of government in Australia. It was established by an Inter-government agreement (IGA) that was first signed by the Commonwealth, States and Territories on 1 March 1994, and has been updated from time to time since. The ABCB is also a regulatory reform vehicle for COAG, and reports to the Australian Government Minister and State and Territory Ministers responsible for building and plumbing regulatory matters, also known as the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF).
The Board consists of sixteen members including a Chair, the head of each Commonwealth, State and Territory Administrations responsible for building matters, up to five industry representatives, and a representative of the Australian Local Government Association.
In May 2014, the BMF agreed to significant regulatory reform for the built environment. These reforms will contribute to reducing the regulatory burden for building and plumbing, an objective of the IGA. The ABCB provides a vital link for industry between building and plumbing practice, and government building and plumbing regulatory policy.
The ABCB Office resides within the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science located in Canberra. Its primary role is to implement the Board’s decisions in accordance with the Inter-Government Agreement. The ABCB Office is a professional, technical and administrative team that provides support to the Board and its ongoing work program.
The ABCB is responsible for:
- updating and maintaining the NCC;
- clarification support services;
- consultation and liaison;
- management of research projects;
- advice on policy development;
- management and co-ordination of committee activities;
- information dissemination and awareness raising;
- administrative and operational support;
- financial management; and
- other matters as determined by the Board.
However, the ABCB is not responsible for:
- rulings, interpretations or classifications, advice or dispute resolutions on specific construction projects or regarding State or territory variations;
- occupational health and safety guidelines and legislation;
workmanship control, quality, durability of materials or other building-related aspects not specifically required by the NCC;
- regulation concerning demolition, site-related industrial matters and asbestos removal;
- administrative documents such as contracts, permits, compliance inspections and reports, stop-work notices and certificates;
- licensing and auditing of building and plumbing practitioners;
- regulatory offences and penalties and appeal processes; and planning issues such as subdivision allotment orientation, minimum set-backs and fence heights.