Background Regarding the Firm’s History in Law Reform
The firm has had a thirty year history in the development of best practice approaches to the development of modern day building control/regulation. There are those within the firm that have contributed to the development of law on point in Australia, parts of Asia, and Africa.
Our law reform team is headed up by Adjunct Professor Kim Lovegrove MSE RML who is also the Chairman of the International Building Quality Centre and a past Senior law reform Consultant to the World Bank in which capacity he has been engaged as a building regulatory law reformer in a number of countries around the world that are motivated by the development of best practice building regulations.
Kim is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra, a Conjoint Professor at the University of Western Sydney and a past Conjoint Professor in building regulations at the University of Newcastle and has been at the vanguard of construction law and law reform for years.
He has headed up teams and consultancies at State, National and inter jurisdictional level and has chaired and/or spoken at numerous conferences on various law reform topics.
The National Model Building Act
In the early 90s, when Kim Lovegrove was at two previous law firms, he was the project director of a team that generated the Australian National Model Building Act, which became the law reform template for modern day building control in most Australian jurisdictions.
Kim edited and co-authored four of the above books that are featured in the banner and in the case of the publication Constitutional Options for Uniform Legislation, that book was authored by the Comparative Constitutional Law Centre at Melbourne University.
In the late 90s, he was invited by Lord Tony Baldry, the then chairman of the English Forum for Construction Law Reform, to address the forum at a venue at the House of Commons on the said law reform initiative and world’s best practice building control.
In 1997 and 2013 he was invited to participate in a building law reform think tank by the team that was charged with carriage of the reform to the Japanese Building Act in Tokyo. He was the sole antipodean representative invited to participate in the regulatory review think tank.
Kim has an international reputation for world’s best practice and holistic building regulatory law reform thought leadership. In this capacity he has been retained by the World Bank to provide advice on best practice approaches to the design of building regulation through the jurisdictions of:
- Malawi (Southern Africa)
- Mumbai and New Delhi
- Shanghai government
- Beijing government
The law reform initiatives that he has had key involvement with or carriage of are as follows:
Practitioner Registration and Probity Regimes
The National Model Building Act established the “regulatory blueprint” for the establishment of a registration system for building practitioners in Australia. The Model was pretty much applied to the letter in Victoria and the Northern Territory where both regimes register all building practitioners.
The system was designed to ensure that practitioners with recognised qualifications, experience, and insurance could be registered to bring to bear more professionalism and accountability in the building industry. The system also imposes education prerequisites and practitioner misconduct disciplinary systems.
Building Approval and Enforcement Regimes
The National Model Building Act, once promulgated by a number of Australian states and territories, established a new building approval and permit delivery system that culminated in faster building approval laws, yet by the same token was complemented by tightened up compliance, probity and enforcement legislative mechanisms. Kim was heavily involved cross-jurisdictionally in the design of these building approval systems, along with their implementation.
Kim contributed to the introduction of proportionate liability and the removal of joint and several liability in the building industry in Australia. The National Model Building Act “NMBA” incorporated the first ever Southern Hemisphere proportionate liability provisions. Proportionate liability replaced the application of the doctrine of joint and several liability as a liability apportionment doctrine.
The reforms were designed to allocate responsibility and accountability more equitably between defendants. The reforms were pioneering and were a forerunner to the wholesale application of proportionate liability tort reform in Australia early third millennium.
10 Year Liability Capping
The “liabilities decennial” approach, a French-based 10-year liability capping concept, was imported to Australia. The purpose of which was to establish a clear start and completion date for the initiation and conclusion of legal proceedings.
Prior to the implementation of these reforms, the time upon which one had to initiate legal proceedings in building matters was uncertain, if not infinite. The reforms overcame this problem by the imposition of a clear statutory limitation period of 10 years, beginning on the date upon which a building permit is issued and concluding 10 years hence to the day.
Compulsory Insurance Systems
Kim Lovegrove and his team along with fellow civil servants drove the establishment of systems of compulsory insurance for practitioners in the Building industry to improve consumer protection and practitioner solvency. Under these systems, engineers, builders, building surveyors and inspectors, quantity surveyors and draftsperson have to be insured.
Efficient and Fast Track Dispute Resolution Systems
The NMBA and the Victorian Building Act 1993 both established fast track dispute resolution regimes for practitioner conduct enquiries and building permit appeals.
Specific Law Reform Retainers:
Australian Federal / National Level (early 90s)
The National Model Building Act
This project was arguably one of the most important building regulatory overhaul instruments in Australia over the last 20 years. Kim was appointed to head up the team that developed a National Model Regulatory framework based on world’s best practices.
The nine Australian Governments through the Australian Uniform Building Regulations Coordinating Council (AUBRCC) via a National tender process engaged the team headed up by Kim. The team’s mission was to develop a uniform model Building template, based on world’s best practices to operate as a model regulatory template or blueprint.
The Model did indeed become the reform blue print for building regulation in seven Australian jurisdictions. In his capacity as project director, Kim Lovegrove worked closely with the Chief Parliamentary Counsels Committee and was instrumental in garnishing the sanction of the standing Committee of Attorneys General and the relevant Ministers responsible for building regulation.
These reforms drove liability reform, expedited building dispute resolution and best practice registration systems. The concepts have been followed to significant but varying degrees in Victoria (adopted all reforms), Northern Territory (adopted all reforms), Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and New South Wales (substantial adoption).
New South Wales (late 90s)
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) – Auditing System
Kim Lovegrove was retained by the Department of Local Government (New South Wales) to advise on the establishment of an auditing system under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW).
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) – Insurance Reforms
Kim Lovegrove was retained by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (New South Wales) to advise on the drafting of insurance regulations under the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Amendment) Act 1997 (NSW). That year Kim Lovegrove addressed a forum at a venue at House of Commons in London on liability and insurance reforms in Australia. The audience comprised members of the English forum for construction law reform and was chaired by Tony Baldry MP.
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) – Liability and Micro Economic Reforms
Kim Lovegrove was retained by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (New South Wales) to advise on the drafting of the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Amendment) Act 1997 (NSW), which effected major reform of the building regulatory system in that state.
Many of the recommendations in the report that Kim Lovegrove prepared were adopted and found their way into Part 4 of the EPAA, namely proportionate liability, 10 year liability capping, the introduction of private certification and a registration system for building practitioners.
Victoria (early 90s & 2007)
The Building Act 1993
Kim Lovegrove was the Instructing Officer to Parliamentary Counsel on development of Building Act 1993 – whole Act reform, based on the National Model Building Act. Kim Lovegrove, as a consultant and civil servant, had substantial involvement in policy development and augmentation of this Act. It introduced proportionate liability, 10 year liability capping, more efficient and robust building approval regulatory systems, a compulsory insurance and registration system, and efficient one stop shop dispute resolution.
Amendments to Functions and Objects of the Building Act 1993 (2007)
Kim Lovegrove was later engaged to advise on changes to the objectives and functions powers of the Building Act 1993.
International/Foreign Jurisdiction Law Reform
Law Reform Think Tanks
Japan Law Reform Deployment (1997 and 2013)
In the mid-nineties, Kim Lovegrove was invited as a guest of the Japanese government to participate in a law reform think tank to advise the government on best practice building regulation and advances on point. Kim represented the Australian Federal Government in this endeavour and a number of his recommendations were implemented by the Japanese law reformers and policy advisers. In 2013, Kim Lovegrove, this time in a private capacity, was invited again to advise a law reforming think tank on best practice building regulation.
In June 2016, Kim Lovegrove addressed a forum at the World Bank in Washington DC on ‘best practice building control and lessons learnt and observed in 20 years of evolution in modern day building control in the Antipodes’. Kim Lovegrove is increasingly devoting more time to off shore deployments with respect to best practice building control advisory initiatives.
Reviewing Mumbai Building Regulations (2016/17)
Engaged by the World Bank, Adjunct Professor Kim Lovegrove MSE, RML was retained as a consultant to review and make recommendations for proposed changes to the Mumbai Building Regulations.
Reviewing Construction Insurance Proposal for New Delhi (2016/17)
Subsequently, Kim was retained to review and advise on the New Delhi construction insurance proposal, insofar as it related to the New Delhi building regulations.
World Bank Deployments in China (2018/21)
Kim as a senior law reform advisor was retained with other key experts from the World Bank to advise four of the major Chinese provincial governments on best practice approaches to the design of building regulatory ecology.
World Bank Deployment in Africa (2021/22)
Kim as a senior law reform advisor was deployed to review the first ever Malawi Building Bill with the view to providing key law reform regulations on how to design building regulations that are bespoke to an emerging economy.
Engagement and Deployment
We are happy to accept law reform or micro-economic reform retainers from state/territory governments and on or off shore jurisdictions. Our experience is rather unique in that we have had carriage of paramount and far reaching law reform initiatives and have developed the project management skills on point. Be it comparative research, development of best practice and most economically sustainable holistic regulatory systems, regulatory review and improvement or coordination of law reform media strategies we have the skills and the track record to prove our credentials and we welcome inquiries.
- Mass Timber High Rises – Some of the Risk Considerations Within an Emerging Paradigm
- Some ways to Strengthen the Drafting of Legislation in Emerging Economies
- Some Ideas on How to Design Building Regulation that is Bespoke to Emerging Economies in Africa
- Poverty, Earthquakes and the Need for a New Orthodoxy
- International Good Practice Construction Dispute Resolution – Society of Construction Law New Zealand Presentation
- Why Performance Based Building Codes Need Sympathetic Building Acts to Achieve Holistic, Sustainable and Utilitarian Outcomes
- The Art of Constructive Diplomacy and Convergence
- Law Reform Concepts for Future Building Control
- The Japanese Approach to Building Law Reform
- The Development of Best Practice Building Regulation – Key Take Outs and Learnings from 30 Years of Experience
For Victorian building reform articles:
- A Sign of the Times: The Need to Modernise the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 in Victorian Residential Construction
- Ten Point Plan to Fix Building Regulation in Victoria
- Time to Legislate the Promulgation of Cost Adjustment Provisions in Victoria
- A Model Risk-Based Building Classification & Inspection System
- Law Reform Concepts for Model Building Regulations Going Forward
- Some Ideas on Law Reforms That Could Cut the Cost of Domestic Building Dispute Resolution in the VCAT