ACT government minister Gordon Ramsay has reversed his decision to delay the adoption of the new national construction code until September 1, after belated consultation with key stakeholders confirmed the "vast majority of industry" was already ready to work with updated rules.
Mr Ramsay on Tuesday said the bulk of the 2019 national construction code would be adopted in the ACT from June 1.
However, the code's most contentious elements, including new requirements for fire sprinklers in buildings four storeys and above, still won't come into force until September 1.
Peak housing and construction groups have welcomed the decision, however one said it remained "very dissatisfied" with what it described as a "complete lack of consultation" throughout the process.
The move represents a stunning about face from Mr Ramsay, who on Friday argued his decision to defer the adoption of the code was necessary because industry needed the extra time to adjust to the changes.
His decision was made on April 29, just two days before the new code was expected to be adopted. All other states and territories signed up to the code on May 1.
But it soon emerged that industry leaders had not been consulted, prompting Mr Ramsay to order ACT chief planner Ben Ponton to conduct an urgent review of the advice prepared by his directorate which informed the decision.
Belated talks with industry groups were held over the weekend, including with the Master Builders Association of the ACT, before Mr Ramsay was handed the review on Monday.
The Canberra Times has not seen the review, but understands it paints a damning picture of the processes that led to Mr Ramsay's original decision.
In a statement to The Canberra Times on Tuesday, Mr Ramsay said consultation with industry leaders made it clear that practitioners did not need extra time to adjust to the bulk of the changes.
Mr Ramsay said the new code's requirements for fire sprinklers and condensation management were more complex and onerous on practitioners, meaning it was reasonable to delay their adoption until September 1.
"In response to the feedback I have received from industry leaders, I can confirm these changes have struck the right balance for government and industry to improve the quality of buildings and building policy in the ACT."
His statement included comments from the heads of the ACT branches of the Master Builders Association, Property Council and Housing Industry Association, who all welcomed the government's decision.
In a separate statement to The Canberra Times, Australian Institute of Building Surveyors chief executive Brett Mace backed Mr Ramsay's move, but lashed the planning directorate's "complete lack of proper consultation with industry over this matter".
Mr Mace said he would be urgently seeking a meeting with Mr Ramsay to discuss the new code.