Note: this information applies to both NQF services and out-of-scope (licenced) services
Plans for renovations to services (that require approval from a building surveyor), or plans for a new child care or education and care service are required to be submitted by a building surveyor to the Education and Care Unit (ECU) as the Function Control Authority (FCA) for review against the requirements of the Education and Care Service National Law Act 2010 (National Law) or the Child Care Act 2001 (Tas) (Child Care Act).
The ECU as FCA will provide written feedback noting any concerns in relation to the proposed building and the design meeting the requirements of the National Law, National Regulations or Child Care Act.
The ECU will work to liaise with the building practitioner and proposed service operator until concerns are addressed with the aim of ensuring the proposed facilities would offer our Tasmanian children safe and quality environments.
Function Control Authority
The ECU, is the FCA under Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations 2016 (Tas) in relation to an early childhood centre or school-age care facilities operated in accordance with the National Law or the Child Care Act.
The term ‘function control authority’ is defined in the Building Act as an authority that is prescribed for the purposes of this definition.
The Director of Building Control has prescribed under a Directors Determination – Categories of Building and Demolition Work that a Function Control Authority means an authority that is required under an Act to –
- issue a certificate, licence, registration or permit for a function or operation within a building; or
- inspect or control a function or operation within a building; and
- that the Director has Determined is a function control authority for the purpose of the Act.
ECU as the Function Control Authority for child care services and education and care services
Under column two of Schedule 3 of the Building Regulations 2016 (Tas), an early childhood centre or school-age care facilities operated in accordance with the National Law or the Child Care Act are special use buildings for the purposes of s 4 of the Building Act.
As the ECU issues licences for child care services to operate under the Child Care Act and service approvals for education and care services to operate under the National Law, the ECU has been delegated the role of FCA for these buildings.
When a building surveyor issues a certificate of likely compliance to build a special use building (a child care centre or education and care service) the building surveyor is required to forward copies of the following documentation to the ECU as the FCA:
- Any document submitted with the application that the building surveyor considers relevant;
- A referral in an approved form.
Role of ECU as the Function Control Authority
The ECU as the FCA for these buildings will evaluate the proposed building against the requirements of the Child Care Act or the National Law. If the ECU as the FCA determines that an alteration is to be made to the proposed building in order to comply with the requirements of the Child Care Act or National Law, the ECU as the FCA is to notify the building surveyor of that alteration within the 14 days specified period. Feedback is provided via email and is sent to the building surveyor, and where known, the proposed service operator (licensing representative or approved provider).
The ECU as the FCA may respond about non-building matters within 14 days. If however, the FCA is not engaged, a formal complaint may be made to the Director of Building Control, Workplace Standards Tasmania, Department of Justice.
When considering if a proposed building would meet the requirements of the National Law as prescribed by the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) or the Child Care Act, service providers and building surveyors should reference the Early Childhood and School Age Care Facilities Code.
The Early Childhood and School Age Care Facilities Code
The Early Childhood and School Age Care Facilities Code sits within the suite of documents known as the National Construction Code Series (NCC). Volume 1 of the NCC and the Tasmania Appendix (class 2 to Class 9 Buildings) of the NCC sets out additional Performance Requirements and Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for the construction of Early Childhood Centres and School Age Care Facilities.
The Tasmania Appendix, Tas Part H122, Early Childhood Centres and School Age Care Facilities, specifies Performance Requirements and refers to the the Early Childhood and School Age Care Facilities Code for the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions. In effect this means that this document prescribes requirements to assist with the interpretation of the National Regulations regarding facilities to be included in a proposed building.
For example when the National Regulations state ‘adequate developmentally and age appropriate toilet, washing and drying facilities’ the Early childhood and School Age Care Facilities Code prescribes the ratio and size of toilets required to meet the ‘adequate’ requirement of the National Regulations.
Role of the Building Surveyor
Final sign off on building works (i.e Certificate of Occupancy) is issued by the appropriate authority authorised under the Building Act 2000 (Tas), the Building Surveyor.
As the Education and Care Unit holds the dual roles of Regulatory Authority and Function Control Authority, in practice, where required, building plans may be forwarded to the Education and Care Unit twice; once as the Function Control Authority (as outlined above, normally forwarded by the Building Surveyor) and once from the service provider as part of the application for service approval process.
Note: Under regulation 25 of the National Regulations, an application for a service approval forwarded to the Education and Care Unit must include plans prepared by a building practitioner.
For this purpose ‘building practitioner’ is defined under regulation 4 of the National Regulations as building practitioner means—
(a) a person who is registered as a building surveyor, building inspector or draftsperson under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
(b) a person who is registered as an architect under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
(c) a person who is licensed as a surveyor under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
(d) a person who is licensed or registered as a building certifier under a law of a participating jurisdiction; or
(e) a person who is accredited under a law of a participating jurisdiction to design buildings that will be used to provide education and care services;
This process of reviewing plans against the Regulations as part of the application for service approval is separate to that of the Unit’s responsibilities as a FCA. Under the Building Act for FCA plans must be prepared by an accredited building designer or Architect.