Building and Construction

The Australian building, plumbing and construction industry accounts for approximately 10 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product and employs nearly 10 per cent of Australia’s workforce.

Under the Australian Constitution, governance of the built environment is the responsibility of State and Territory governments. While the Australian Government does not have a formal role in the administration of building, plumbing and construction works, it does have policy interest in the facilitation of nationally consistent regulations.

The Australian Government works collaboratively with the State and Territory governments to facilitate the development of a more efficient and internationally competitive building, plumbing and construction industry through reforms to building and plumbing regulation nationally.

The Department is the Australian Government’s lead on a broad range of policy priorities, which include:

  • Secretariat support to the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF);
  • representing the Commonwealth on the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB) and associated technical advisory committees, including the Building Codes Committee (BCC) and Plumbing Codes Committee (PCC);
  • progressing the agenda of a nationally consistent and cost effective approach to building, plumbing, and construction regulations through the adoption of the National Construction Code (NCC);
  • reviewing and implementing changes to the signed 2015 Australian Building Codes Board - Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA);
  • representing the Commonwealth on the Senior Officers’ Group (SOG);
  • contributing to a national strategy for addressing non-conforming building products;
  • providing input to Parliamentary Inquiries; and
  • coordinating the review of the Disability (Access to Premises-Building) Standards 2010 and the Government’s response to the review.

Building Ministers' Forum

The Building Ministers' Forum (BMF) is a body of Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers responsible for building and plumbing policy and regulation. The Hon Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, is the current Chair of the BMF; with the Department providing secretariat support.

The BMF members are the Parties to the IGA, which recognises the role of the BMF and establishes the ABCB. As such, the BMF is responsible for overseeing and giving strategic direction to the work of the ABCB. The BMF may also consider other related policy issues impacting the building industries.

Collapsed - BMF - Member List - 22 March 2017

Minister Title Jurisdiction
The Hon Craig Laundy MP Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Commonwealth
Mr Mick Gentleman MLA Minister for Planning ACT
The Hon Anthony Roberts MP Minister for Planning New South Wales
The Hon Matthew Kean MP Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation New South Wales
The Hon Nicole Manison MLA Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Northern Territory
The Hon Mick de Brenni MP Minister for Housing and Public Works Queensland
The Hon John Rau MP Minister for Planning South Australia
The Hon Ian Hunter MP Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation South Australia
The Hon Guy Barnett MP Minister for Building and Construction Tasmania
The Hon Richard Wynne MP Minister for Planning Victoria
The Hon William Johnston MLA Minister for Commerce Western Australia

The BMF meets annually or on an as needs basis. The last BMF was held on 21 April 2017 in Sydney, New South Wales.

For further information, contact:

BMF Secretariat
GPO Box 2013



Australian Building Code Board

The ABCB is a Council of Australian Government (COAG) standards writing body, established under the IGA, responsible for the development of the NCC.

The ABCB consists of an independent Chair, up to five industry representatives, and representatives from the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, and Local government.

The objective of the ABCB is to establish minimum performance based and proportional codes, standards and regulatory systems that are consistent, as far as practical, between States and Territories. The ABCB implements the regulatory reform agenda agreed by COAG. 

The ABCB provides an important link for industry between building and plumbing practice, and government building and plumbing regulatory policy.

The Office of the ABCB is located in the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The primary role of the Office of the ABCB is to implement the Board’s decisions, in addition to providing technical and administrative support to the ABCB through its ongoing work program.

For further information about the ABCB, go to:

Senior Officers’ Group on non-conforming building products

The BMF established the Senior Officers’ Group (SOG) on 31 July 2015, to investigate and develop a national strategic response to issues of non-conforming building products (NCBP). 

The SOG consists of senior officers from the department and each State and Territory building regulator. The SOG is Chaired by the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works, which also provides secretariat support. The Victorian Building Authority is Deputy Chair of the SOG.

The SOG was asked to report within 6 months on ways to minimise the risks to consumers, businesses and the community associated with failure of building products to conform to relevant laws and regulations and at the point of import.

On 19 February 2016, the BMF agreed in-principle on the strategies outlined in the SOG’s report in addressing NCBPs. The SOG then sought feedback on the report, via public submissions, on the best way to implement the strategies. Public submissions closed on 11 April 2016, and the SOG is currently analysing the feedback to develop an implementation roadmap. 

For further information, visit the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works or email:

Non-Conforming Building Products

The issue of NCBP, whether domestically manufactured or imported, is an important and complex issue for the Australia. NCBPs can have life safety, health, economic, legal and social consequences. While it is unclear how widespread the issue is throughout Australia; the issue of NCBPs is not confined to building or plumbing products.

There is an important distinction between non-conforming products and non-compliant products:

  • Non-conforming building products are products or materials that claim to be something they are not; do not meet required standards for their intended use; or are marked and supplied with the intent to deceive those who use them.
  • Non-compliant building products are products that are used in situations where they do not comply with the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC).

The building conformance framework for non-conforming building products centres on the constitutional authority held by state and territory governments and enacted through their building legislation. As such, compliance and enforcement is ultimately a matter for each state and territory to review and address.

Senate Inquiry

On 23 June 2015, the Senate referred the issue of non-conforming building products to the Senate Economics Reference Committee for inquiry. The Committee handed down its Interim Report on 4 May 2016.

On 11 October 2016, the Senate agreed to the Committee’s recommendation that this inquiry be re-adopted in the 45th Parliament. Within the context of the broad terms of reference of the inquiry, the committee is seeking submissions regarding the illegal importation of products containing asbestos. 

Submissions closed on 1 December 2016, with the Committee due to report by 25 May 2017.

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