The introduction of the OC portal is a really positive initiative for our industry. However, as with any new system, there are some technical issues to iron out in these early stages. In recent months, we have received frequent feedback from Developers, Builders and Project Managers regarding some difficulties encountered using the OC portal.
In order to gain a better understanding of the portal system, we met with Ms Yin Man, the ‘Digital Director of Construct NSW’, and her team to run through the portal framework and the various options available to users (you can see more in the illustration of the portal framework below.)
The session was held for the benefit of Construction Consultants QS (CCQS), Construction Consultants PM (CCPM) and Strata Defects Specialists Sydney (SDSS). In the session, the Commissioner’s Team conducted a ‘dummy’ OC Submission going through each of the 9 portal steps addressing our queries.
In this session, the team demonstrated the process from a Construction Certificate onwards to highlight all the changes made to align with the Design and Building Practitioners Act, Residential Apartment Building Act and the Strata Building Bond Regulations. The workflow, if started from a construction certificate, will lead you through the legislation obligations.
The team made it clear that the NSW Planning Portal has been designed to deal with projects at different stages from development approval to construction certificate / complying development certificate to occupation certificate. However, it’s clear that the portal is ideally designed for new projects, where people would upload project information through the following phases:
- ‘Practitioner Registration’
- ‘Planning and Design’
We were shown how the steps were far more simple for applicants starting from the initial ‘Practitioner Registration’ phase, with issues arising for applicants starting from the ‘Construction’ and ‘Occupation’ phases. Despite the process being rigorous for any projects already on foot, Developers and Builders should commence the submission process early to troubleshoot and resolve any problems before they become critical.
I’ve thanked the Commissioner’s Team for taking the time to address some of the common queries and consider our feedback. The team will continue to take on feedback from developers around the strata building bond and pass them to the internal policy team to consider.
While the initial release took place in July, they have further releases planned in September and October to cater to the varying ways developers, builders and designers operate, and also to ensure the full requirements of the DBP Act are met.
Both SDSS and CCPM are committed to understanding the widening and changing obligations of our clients, and are keen to use this invaluable experience with the OBC to assist Developers and Builders navigate through the OC portal process in future.
The introduction of the portal is a positive initiative and I have no doubt will only improve as the industry adapts to the reform.
Should you require assistance complying with an OC Audit or performing tasks via the OC Portal, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are also happy to arrange a presentation regarding the Portal or the CAAS program to further assist.