Builders at risk of losing their licence

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Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay.

IN an ACT government attempt to improve quality building in Canberra, a number of Canberra builders will undergo mandatory exams next week, according to Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay.

“Any applicant who is refused a licence for failing the exam won’t be eligible to reapply again for six months, if they are refused a second time the period extends to 12 months, and if they are refused a third time they won’t be eligible for another two years,” Mr Ramsay says.

Mr Ramsay says the mandatory exams, which follows the 2013 review of the ACT Building System, will target class A, B and C builders.

In the coming months Mr Ramsay says a reform program and on the ground regulation will improve the professionalism and standard of practice in the building industry, provide strong enforcement in its regulation of the industry and provide information to the community so they are aware of their rights and obligations when buying or renovating a property.

The reforms around construction licensing being delivered include:

  • Grounds for the Registrar to refuse or condition a licence
  • New powers to require licensees to undertake skills assessment and direct licensees to undertake training
  • New offences and penalties for failing to comply with the Building Act, building code and with a rectification order
  • Creation of a public register of information about licensees
  • Improved information gathering powers for investigators.

In the first half of this year Mr Ramsay says the ACT government will also deliver:

  • codes of practice for builders and building surveyors to improve supervision and consistency in stage inspections during construction
  • new documentation guidelines for people preparing building approval applications
  • education and training courses for practitioners on the ACT building regulatory system; and
  • enhanced information for the community including through an online portal.

Master Builders ACT has welcomed the announcement with its CEO, Michael Hopkins, saying the new license exams will mean that people applying for a building license will be required to meet increased minimum standards – and that is a good thing. 

“When a license holder is selected to sit the exam at license renewal, it is important for this to be used to target repeat offenders or those with a track record of poor building quality and not apply more cost and uncertainty for the many good quality builders that are operating in the ACT,” he says.

“Afterall, these measures are about improving the overall standard of the industry, not punishing those already delivery high quality.”


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