Know the rules


With construction laws and codes at state and national levels changing regularly, do you know where to find the most up-to-date information?

By Meg Crawford


The regulatory framework for Australia’s construction industry is a minefield to navigate. For starters, there are national as well as state schemes, with various pieces of legislation and codes in operation throughout, governing everything from fees and charges through to planning approval and nonconforming building products. Plus, the consequences of non-compliance can be dire, including the imposition of financial penalties and loss of licenses.

With this in mind, we’ve gathered a useful list of state and federal resources to keep you on top of developments.


Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC)

The ABCC is the watchdog enforcing the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016, which applies to commonwealth funded building work.

The ABCC’s website contains information about the Code and its application to building industry participants (including subcontractors). 

Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)

The ABCB is a joint government initiative responsible for the development of the National Construction Code (NCC). The NCC sets out the minimum requirements for design and construction of new building work and plumbing and drainage across all states and territories.

Each state and territory has passed laws giving effect to the NCC. The ABCB has links to the NCC and a library of explanatory resources, as well as offering continuing professional development courses. 


ACT Government

The ACT maintains the ‘Build, buy or renovate’ website, which contains everything construction industry participants may need to know about working in the territory, including information about applicable legislation and licensing requirements. 

Victorian Building Authority (VBA)

The VBA governs Victoria’s building and plumbing industries, which are regulated by the Building Act 1993. The VBA provides information and resources about the Building Act, as well as the other laws and regulations applicable in Victoria, including the NCC. 

Service NSW

Service NSW (formerly the Department of Customer Service) operates a Building Code Advisory Service to provide general information and advice about the NCC and related matters. 

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)

The QBCC regulates Queensland’s building industry. The QBCC’s site contains a ready reference covering everything from licences and building requirements, through to complaints and offences, and provides handy tools.

In South Australia, the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and associated Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 set the development and building framework. The website contains links to and summaries of the relevant requirements. 

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DOM)

The Building and Energy unit, which sits within the broader DOM, oversees the building, building surveying, electrical, gas, painting, and plumbing industries in Western Australia. Further, it maintains responsibility for resolution of building service and payment disputes. The website has a useful list of information about building codes (including the NCC) and relevant Australian Standards. 

Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS)

CBOS administers Tasmania’s Building Act 2016, as well as other relevant construction laws. It’s a source of straightforward information about everything from security for payment through to building in hazardous areas. 

Building Practitioners Board

The primary laws regulating the Northern Territory building industry are the Building Act 1993 (Building Act), and the Building Regulations. The Building Act established the BPB, which regulates building practitioners. The BPB’s website contains links to relevant laws and has information and forms for registration.


Master Builders

Master Builders is a representative body for the building and construction industry, with branches across the country.

Membership provides access to legal, financial, OH&S, industrial relations, technical, registration, insurance and training specialists. Further, Master Builders provides access to codes and other relevant legislative requirements. 


Many tradespeople and labourers may become members with the CFMEU, the relevant union in Australia’s construction industry. It has state branches across the country, as well as a national umbrella body. It provides information to members about workplace rights, and represents its members in various matters.

Housing Industry Association (HIA)

The HIA is a membership association for building professionals in the home building industry. As well as advocating for its members, it provides a wealth of information about industry standards and regulations.