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Summer building project? Don't get caught out by new building regulations

By Andrew Steele - 23 Dec 2014

As the building industry rides the wave of buoyant construction, new regulations coming into force on 1 January 2015 introduce more consumer protection and compliance requirements for tradespeople.

The title - Building (Residential Consumer Rights and Remedies) Regulations 2014 - speaks volumes for the content of these rules. These regulations will catch builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople who enter into contracts involving building work on a place of residence. It will apply to sole traders, companies and partnerships alike. 

Contractors

The regulations require building contractors to provide a client with prescribed disclosure information and a prescribed checklist. Contractors must do this before entering into a residential building contract of a value of more than $30,000 (including GST), or in lower value contracts if required. The residential building contract must be in writing. It if is oral, or is incomplete, certain key terms will be deemed to have been included in that contract. 

There are other new obligations after the work is done. These include providing copies of insurance policies, guarantees and warranties and information on maintenance. The defects liability period will be 12 months post-completion.

Along with the regulations, infringement offences have been created which could lead to builders being fined $500 for failure to provide either of the prescribed documents or a written contract.

DIYers

DIY homebuilders could face an instant fine of $750 for carrying out restricted building work when not working under the supervision of a licensed building practitioner. 

In a year that will already see builders getting to grips with the significant increase in obligations under the health and safety law changes, this additional layer of compliance is unlikely to be welcomed with open arms. However, the many diligent and professional tradespeople within the industry who already ensure that their clients are well-informed will not have to change their practices much beyond personalising the prescribed disclosure information and passing on the checklist and other key documents at the end of the work. It can also be hoped that the checklist for consumers may go some way to ensuring that property owners are better informed when entering into building contracts. 

You can find links to the relevant legislation here:

Building (Residential Consumer Rights and Remedies) Regulations 2014

Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Amendment Regulations 2014

Contact

Andrew Steele

 

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