Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4567 ..
A larger reform will restructure builders licence categories to reflect the complexity and types of building work being carried out. It will also introduce greater obligations on licensees to make sure the subtrades that they engage are adequately qualified. This will place the emphasis on licence holders to take responsibility for their work and the work that they have commissioned. That is, they will provide quality control on their own projects.
Skills cards for waterproofers, tilers, renderers, concreters, form workers, carpenters and bricklayers will be introduced, beginning with waterproofers in 2011. Skills cards are issued by registered training organisations and show the competencies and qualifications that a person has attained.
The report also proposes two major reforms to assist owners and owners corporations to address building faults and poor workmanship. The first is to introduce a complaint mediation and adjudication process for residential buildings. This will initially cover class 2 apartment buildings, modelled on the successful security of payments process. Expert advice on structural and other specialist issues or legal action is often needed and can come at a high cost to either the regulator or the owner.
This proposal would establish a formal adjudication process supported by legislation through which owners could access an independent expert and reach an early agreement between the parties. Decisions would be binding and would be appealable to a court. Adjudication bodies would report all disputes to ACTPLA to improve analysis.
For complaints lodged with government agencies, ACTPLA and the Office of Regulatory Services will coordinate referral processes between the agencies and management of complaints common to both agencies. This means that, regardless of where the regulatory responsibility is placed in government, owners will have better access to information and services from government agencies.
The second reform aimed at assisting owners and owners corporations is to develop a new statutory form of insurance tailored to the project rather than to the owner. Linking the insurance to the project means that second and future unit owners would be covered by the insurance. It will also address the problems in having defects rectified where the builder is no longer in business. For problems that already exist, there are avenues that can be pursued against former licensees and company directors. Government can establish a pro-prosecution and pro-rectification policy towards developers and builders who fail to comply with the building regulation when constructing class 2 buildings. All of the reforms will be supported by a review of the Building Act and changes to construction occupations licensing legislation and operational acts.
The Assembly’s motion of 1 July also referred to the role of the Unit Titles Act in addressing building faults and poor workmanship in unit plans. This act is being reviewed in parallel to the work on building quality and forum participants have been able to contribute to that review. The Unit Titles Act allows an owners corporation to take legal action for the rectification of structural defects that are part of the units or