Inspection change to ease home owners’ building complaint costs

As part of a new service delivery model announced by Building and Energy, most WA home owners who lodge a complaint against a building service provider will no longer have to provide an independent inspection report to prove the defects.

WA’s current building complaints process usually requires home owners to arrange and pay for an independent building inspection report, costing up to $4,000, which is submitted as evidence of the alleged issues.

The building service provider responsible for the work is also required to provide a submission about the issues in dispute. As part of its complaints resolution service, Building and Energy reviews these submissions before it makes a determination.

From 1 July 2020, Building and Energy will no longer require home owners to obtain independent building inspection reports. Issues identified in the complaint will be inspected by the regulator’s own inspectors, who will provide the parties with an independent report.

Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said the new service delivery model was expected to save WA home owners up to $2.2 million a year and deliver a more efficient process.

“We receive an average of 700 complaints against building service providers annually, with around 550 requiring a technical building inspection to be carried out,” he said.

“This change is a direct response to concerns raised by some home owners that the pursuit of complaints against builders was inaccessible due to the costs of seeking independent building inspection reports.

“Following Building and Energy’s recruitment of additional technical staff, any inspections required for building complaints will now be assigned to our in-house building inspectors at no additional cost to the parties involved.

“Due to increased confidence in the expertise and impartiality of the service, it is also expected to reduce the time currently involved when evidence is contested.”

Some exclusions will apply to the services that Building and Energy’s in-house inspectors can provide, including inspections of high-rise buildings and detailed expert reports on subjects such as engineering, chemical analysis and corrosion.

Improved management of disputes between owners and builders aligns with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s strategic and customer-centric priorities, as well as the State Government’s commitment to make it easier for citizens to interact with Government.

“The removal of this cost burden for home owners is a practical example of these principles in action,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“It is just one of many improvements that Building and Energy expects to deliver in the coming months.”

Other initiatives in the pipeline include reviews of building approval processes for residential and commercial construction, including the introduction of mandatory inspections, as well as improvements to the occupational registration scheme for builders and registration of engineers.

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