Reforms proposed for Canberra’s construction industry

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Mick Gentleman

MICK Gentleman says a new building reforms discussion paper explores ways to minimise serious building defects that have plagued the industry and led to financial loss, safety concerns and heartache for Canberrans.

“This discussion paper is our next step in evaluating the Building Act and outlines how we can potentially prevent problems from occurring in the first place, and better resolve issues when they do arise in the building industry,” Mick said.

“We are looking for reforms and ways to encourage improvements in the industry, including how better information and education can help us all avoid current issues, especially those in residential buildings.”

The paper identifies the possibilities of reform in several areas including:

  • Design inspectors to be appointed by the Government for high risk projects such as apartments;
  • A range of changes to the licensing system for builders and certifiers, with the aim of ensuring practitioners are skilled and experienced in whatever tasks they require for a particular project; and
  • How residential building contracts can be improved so all parties are clear about processes and the dispute resolution process if things go wrong.

“The Government is interested in hearing the community and industry views on some of the discussion paper’s ‘big ticket’ items, including the proposal to introduce an independent review process of designs for more complex buildings,” Mick said.

“I’m particularly keen to see how we can improve the existing Security of Payments legislation to help prevent loss of subcontractor payments and improve the payment claims process for the construction industry.

“Improving building quality is in the best interests of consumers, industry practitioners and the wider community, and is an important part of realising the government’s key priorities for the ACT, such as enhancing liveability, urban renewal and economic growth.

“This discussion paper is the next phase of the Government’s building reform agenda, adding to recent changes to legislation for construction occupations.

“I invite the public and industry to give feedback on these options so we can continue to implement building reforms that will see better outcomes for consumers, the industry and building quality.”

The discussion paper and survey is at www.timetotalk.act.gov.au.

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