Interior Designers and the Application of the Design and Building Practitioners Act

 

Interior Designers and Registration

“Interior Architects” who make designs concerning Building Work would need to be registered as an Architect or Building Designer (Low/Mid-rise) to make compliance declarations. Building Work refers to:

  • the construction;
  • alteration or addition;
  • repair or renovation; or
  • protective treatment,

of a Class 2 Building Element.

For this scheme, Building Element means any of the following:

  • fire safety systems;
  • waterproofing;
  • building structure;
  • building enclosure; or
  • building services.

As such, those with qualifications in Interior Design (not Building Design) will be unable to declare compliant an entire Class 2 building as they will not hold the relevant qualifications for registration. Even if the design is only in relation to a part of a Class 2 building, such as one unit, if it involves any Building Work or a Performance Solution, the designs will need to be declared compliant by a registered Design Practitioner, such as an Architect or Structural Engineer.  In contrast, “Interior Designers” who prepare designs that are not in relation to Building Work, such as decorative finishes, layouts of fittings and fixtures for the kitchen, or lightings, do not need to make a compliance declaration as they are not regulated by this scheme.

Requirements for Registration

Generally, experience will not be recognised without the relevant qualifications. Although the lack of registration does not preclude the person from practising their work and making the designs, they will not be able to make the required compliance declarations for construction.

Generally, to register as a Design Practitioner, they will require:

  • at least 5 years practical experience within the last 10 years, including at least 2 years Australian experience, relevant to their desired class of Design Practitioner; and
  • a recognised, formal qualification such as:
    • Professional registration by a professional body for an Architect or an Engineer; or
    • a degree, postgraduate degree, diploma or NVR course certificate relevant to their desired class of Design Practitioner.

The full list of required qualifications, skills and knowledge for each Design Practitioner is contained in Part 4 of Schedule 2 of the Design and Building Practitioners Regulations: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2021-0152#sch.2

Transitional Arrangements for those without relevant qualifications

Recognising that some who have practical experience, but no qualifications could be precluded from the new scheme, the scheme allowed for alternative pathways for 4 classes of Design Practitioners. The other 13 Classes do not have alternative pathways as they have stricter qualification requirements.

They are:

  • Design Practitioner – Building Design Low Rise and Mid Rise
    • The Building Designer must meet the knowledge and skills requirements prescribed in the Regulation and must successfully complete a competency assessment offered by the Secretary or a body approved by the Secretary. The applicant must have 10 years, or equivalent part time, practical experience within the last 15 years, including at least 2 years Australian experience. The practical experience must be on a class 2, 3, 9a or 9c building (or if overseas, a similar building). This pathway is only available until 30 June 2022.
  • Design Practitioner – Fire Systems
    • Applicants with necessary accreditation under the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) and 5 years’ experience;
    • Applicants who have started but not completed the Diploma of Fire Systems Design, limited to one or three years and only available until 30 June 2022
    • Grandfathering provision for Applicants who have previously completed the Diploma in Hydraulics design. All new applicants must have completed the Diploma of Fire Systems design.
  • Design Practitioner – Vertical Transportation
    • Prior to 31 December 2021 – Applicant who holds Certificate III in field of electrical or mechanical engineering can apply after a successful competency assessment. Applicant must have The applicant must have 10 years, or equivalent part time, practical experience within the last 15 years, including at least 2 years Australian experience.
    • Prior to 30 June 2022 – Applicant who holds Certificate IV in field of electrical, electronic or mechanical engineering can apply after a successful competency assessment. Applicant must have The applicant must have 10 years, or equivalent part time, practical experience within the last 15 years, including at least 2 years Australian experience.