Page 2154 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Debate resumed from 9 June 2016, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.03): The Canberra Liberals support the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. This bill has been prepared in response to the government’s review of the Building Act and other associated legislation. The bill amends the current statutory warranty system for residential buildings to apply to all private residential buildings, not just those that are three storeys or less.

This amendment also means that basements or car parks that provide structural support to the residential part of the building are also covered by the structural warranty. The current warranties of six years for structural defects and two years for non-structural defects will now apply to all residential buildings. This is a sensible amendment, we believe. It is only fair that all building work should be subject to a warranty rather than arbitrarily setting three storeys as the limit. After all, there is an expectation that building work will be completed to a proper standard and a warranty is recognition that that standard should be enforced. This amendment will provide protection for purchasers of apartments and reinforce to developers and builders that they must complete their work to an appropriate standard.

The bill includes provisions designed to prevent phoenixing. Phoenixing refers to the practice used by some companies where they become insolvent and avoid paying creditors but the same directors re-emerge with a new company under a new name free from the previous liabilities. This practice has been used in the construction industry and it hurts home owners who are often left with incomplete houses and are forced to pay another builder to complete the property.

Phoenixing also damages the construction industry as a whole. Of course, the vast majority of builders and developers do the right thing, be that in terms of building quality or the standards with regard to their integrity and governance. But there are, of course, some that do not. Honest builders and developers are at risk of being tarred with the same brush as unscrupulous companies that make a habit of ripping people off and ruining the industry for everyone.

This bill broadens the current provisions that are not able to adequately address the problems of phoenixing. The new provisions will allow the registrar to consider a

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