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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 4 May 1995) . . Page.. 183 ..


Another group of proposals would update builders licensing. Present legislation assumes that a licensed builder manages all aspects of a building project, including subcontracting. It is, in fact, common practice for developers to use a licensed builder as supervisor but for the developer to have made agreements with subcontractors. This practice is called project management and it is proposed to make legal provision for it.

Present legislation restricts class B builders licence holders to straightforward three-storey buildings and class C licence holders to straightforward single-storey buildings. These limits do not correspond to any clear-cut transition in technical knowledge and unnecessarily restrict many experienced builders. For example, a house with a garage under it is considered a two-storey building. These limits are no longer satisfactory, and it is proposed to allow class B licence holders to construct any three-storey building and class C licence holders to construct straightforward two-storey buildings.

The basic qualification for class B builders licences set out in present legislation was awarded for a course that is no longer provided, and it is proposed to replace it with an equivalent current qualification. The basic qualifications for class C builders licences set out in present legislation are trade certificates. Under a changing organisation of training, essential technical and business training has now provided a more advanced course and it is proposed to update the qualification accordingly. This change would not prevent holders of trade certificates from gaining licences as builders. The Act already allows them to obtain a licence if they have the skills required, and they can demonstrate this by undertaking a screening test conducted by the Canberra Institute of Technology. It is possible to gain formal qualifications without any experience in building; so, as part of the change in builders licensing, a requirement for practical knowledge would be introduced where the qualifications are lower than a degree or diploma. The details of acceptable qualifications will now be set out in subordinate legislation.

In addition to these changes, the Act would be updated in minor ways. In 1991, the Government freed a range of minor building works from building controls. Exemption will now be extended to further works, provided they are carried out by qualified persons. Until 1988, there was a means of review of building fees for those who felt that they were overcharged. This topic was then overlooked during a general change in the review of decisions under the Building Act, and it is now proposed to restore the right of review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Finally, the Act uses out-of-date names of organisations, and it is proposed that they be updated.

Mr Speaker, the proposals adapt the legislation to the present needs of the community and the building industry, and I commend it to the house. I also present the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Wood) adjourned.


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