Page 2661 - Week 08 - Friday, 1 July 2005

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owner/builders and speculative builders, that is, those builders who acquire land to build upon and then immediately sell the new premises.

Obviously it is important that the government is able to require such people to rectify works that are substandard in order to protect someone who may purchase the property in the future. These provisions will help meet the objective of the COLA legislation to protect the community against unscrupulous tradespeople and those who might seek to take advantage of unsuspecting home owners.

The bill also protects home owners from unscrupulous tradespeople by strengthening the advertising provisions in COLA by inserting examples to clarify the intention of the legislation. Under section 83.1 of COLA, a person commits an offence if they do not include certain information in an advertisement. This information includes the person’s name and licence number and, where the person is a corporation, the ACN.

Clause 1.25 inserts a number of examples of what does and does not constitute advertising. This is to clarify that items such as business cards, brochures and T-shirts constitute advertising when given to a prospective client. The advertising provisions also apply to radio and television advertising and signs. This type of disclosure is important to inform the public just who is providing services and ensures that tradespeople with poor reputations or those who have been subject to disciplinary sanctions cannot hide behind misleading advertising using alternative business names and avoid further disciplinary action by COLA’s registrar.

Clause 1.26 makes a consequential amendment to cater for the fact that fire sprinkler fitting work is a separate occupation under COLA rather than a subset of water supply plumbing work. The amendment recognises that plumbers licences can cover the occupation of fire sprinkler work. When COLA commenced, it repealed several laws that were made redundant. Although COLA has substantial transitional provisions, there is doubt that COLA’s enforcement provisions can operate where a person breached certain provisions of some of the repealed acts before COLA commenced. Clauses 1.27 and 1.28 clarify that people who broke the old laws can be held accountable under the new COLA provisions.

Clause 1.29 updates a reference to the title of the national plumbing standard. Clauses 1.30 to 1.32 make minor amendments to ensure that bodies politic can obtain builders licences. That will ensure that those ACT government agencies that need to do building work are not necessarily prevented from obtaining a builders licence. An obvious example is the Department of Urban Service.

Clause 1.33 allows corporations and partnerships to become licensed plumbing plan certifiers. Currently, only individuals can be licensed. The government recognises that there is a shortage of such specialist certifiers. This amendment is expected to increase the number of licensees, easing the burden on the few existing licensees. The plumbing industry has indicated its strong support for this amendment.

Clause 1.34 clarifies that government building surveyors are not required by COLA to hold professional indemnity insurance as a prerequisite to being licensed. Government will provide that insurance rather than the individual, as was the case before COLA

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