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April 2020

Issues with damp proofing membranes in South Australia

Allegations of non-complying and non-conforming DPM

The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has recently been made aware of particular brands of damp-proofing membranes (polyethylene film) that appear to be falsely advertised and sold as compliant with the Building Rules. They are unbranded and deteriorate rapidly when exposed to UV light. Industry testing indicates that they have failed both the AS4347.6 and AS4347.9 tests. If the quality of these materials is not up to standard moisture ingress through the building fabric is likely to occur.

DPTI have sourced damp-proofing membrane from various outlets in metropolitan Adelaide and have sent them to a testing laboratory to determine their compliance or otherwise with the relevant Australian Standards. When the results have been received DPTI will notify interested parties and the construction sector more broadly if appropriate.

In the interim, all parties in the supply chain should be vigilant when ordering, advertising and selling DPM. Builders and owners should retain approved documentation and where possible samples and photographs of the DPM that has been used during each development.

An Advisory Notice 01/20 has been produced to assist the sector in the interim.

Water safety risk - plumbing advice from the OTR

Backflow prevention requirements for toilet douche outlets

A critical issue has been raised about the increase in illegal and unsafe alternative toileting fixtures and plumbing, which appears to be driven by recent toilet paper shortages. These alternatives consist of a DIY version of a toilet/bidet and a fixture similar to a shower rose. 

There is a risk that the drinking water supply can be contaminated if these plumbing fixtures are installed without the appropriate safety mechanism because the water can back cycle into the clean water supply. The Office of the Technical Regulator have produced a Plumbing Advisory Notice to assist stakeholders in understanding this issue and the consequences. For further information contact the OTR directly on 1300 760 311.

Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements

The Bushfires Royal Commission will examine coordination, preparedness for, response to and recovery from disasters as well as improving resilience and adapting to changing climatic conditions and mitigating the impact of natural disasters. The inquiry will also consider the legal framework for Commonwealth involvement in responding to national emergencies.

The Commission is now accepting public submissions on the 2019-20 bushfire season from individuals, community groups and the broader community.

You can make a submission on the Submissions page.

You can also download the form and post it to the Commission or call 1800 909 826 to make a submission over the phone.

Submissions will close on Friday, 17 April 2020.

Australian Building Codes Board and NCC news

Amendment 1 preview released

In preparation for the expected adoption of NCC 2019 Amendment 1 by all States and Territories from 1 July 2020, the ABCB has released a preview of the Amendment. The Amendment is the product of decisions by both the Building Ministers’ Forum and the Board, including in response to recommendations of the Building Confidence Report.

NCC 2019 Amendment 1 can be viewed or downloaded from the NCC Suite or you can download the summary and instructions for all Volumes from the Resource Library.

Courts Administration Authority - ERD Court COVID-19 update

The Courts Administration Authority (CAA) is monitoring the Government’s announcements and advice concerning COVID-19 and its management, to ensure that arrangements are in place to address any adverse impacts. With respect to new matters and existing matters, the ERD case list shows that conferences and directions hearings are still occurring.

On 27 March 2020 the Principal Registrar of the Higher Courts of SA (which includes the ERD Court) issued information advising that personal attendance at the courts should be avoided where practical. This relates mainly to filing documents but there is a clear intention to avoid personal attendances where practical.

If you have a matter before the court or need to visit a court registry, please phone CourtSA Registry Services on 08 8204 2444.

Seminars and training opportunities

COVID-19 presents many challenges, particularly for practitioners whose role requires them to frequently face to face. Fortunately training, which is often mandated as part of professional CPD schemes, has moved increasingly to online platforms. Both the ABCB and the AIBS are at the forefront of this delivery method and offer a range of subjects and sessions for professionals. More information can be found on the respective websites.

Australian Building Codes Board

The ABCB resource library includes a range of non-mandatory handbooks, ABCB standards, tools and calculators, videos and other corporate publications. There are currently over 50 videos available for download.


Australian Institute of Building Surveyors

The AIBS TV facility currently has an extensive portfolio of training subjects available for professionals to access, with more training sessions due for release within the coming weeks.

Sustainable structures webinar

Sustainable Multi Storey Commercial Projects in the 2020's -  The effects of Global Warming are forcing urgent action for change across Government, Industry and Communities throughout the world. While Governments, across the globe seek to accelerate the rate of reduction in carbon emission targets (some faster than others) communities and individuals are increasingly looking at their own patterns of consumption to minimise carbon.

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm AEST, Tuesday 7 April 2020

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Page last modified Tuesday, 13 August 2019