More resources to tackle building quality

The ACT Government is cracking down on dodgy developers and builders by investing in more inspectors to visit building sites, additional resourcing to administer tougher licencing requirements and better education and engagement for the community and industry.

Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay said the ACT Government was committed to improving building quality and raising standards within the industry to ensure that homes built today are comfortable, safe and liveable into the future.

“Our community rightly expects that building work is of a high standard and new homes are built to stand the test of time,” he said.

“So we are investing in a range of initiatives to ensure local builders have the skills and knowledge to build to a high standard and are fully compliant with building laws and regulations.”

“Our message is: if you want to build in Canberra, you must deliver high quality work. Going forward there will be no place for builders and developers who do things on the cheap and leave Canberra homeowners with the bill.”

This new investment, which will be delivered in the upcoming ACT Budget, will deliver:

  • eight new rapid response officers to undertake up to 1000 more inspections and site assessments each year
  • four additional compliance officers to support the administration of the government’s tough new licence requirements for new and existing builders; with more than 450 exams expected to be administered each year
  • four new officers to enhance information and engagement to help consumers know their rights and ensure industry is well informed of their obligations.

This $8.9 million investment will be offset through an increase in the annual Builder Levy of 0.1% and builder license application fees.

“I anticipate this new investment will be welcomed by industry who, through my discussions, have shared the government’s drive to raise standards and professionalism.

“We are setting the standard when it comes to regulatory and policy reform to support building quality. This ongoing investment will strengthen the work of Canberra’s building regulator where it matters,” Minister Ramsay said.

Quick facts:

Rapid regulatory response team (RRRT)

  • RRRT introduced as a pilot by Access Canberra in 2018.
  • Team work to quickly and effectively manage building complaints.
  • Inspectors undertake preliminary assessments of complaints and site inspections.
  • Since 1 July 2018 the RRRT has quickly and effectively resolved 348 complaints, referred 92 to formal investigation and 60 to other areas of Government for management.
  • This Budget funds eight new rapid response officers to further support the RRRT.
  • Increased inspectors mean increased visibility on building sites, the timely resolution of issues, and an additional 1,000 site inspections/audits to be undertaken each year.

Tougher builders’ licensing

  • ACT is leading nation when it comes to setting mandatory exams for builders looking to be licenced in the ACT across A, B and C classes and select builders at point of renewal.
  • Exams were introduced across the classes in May 2019.
  • It is expected that more than 450 exams will be administered each year.
  • The four additional compliance officers funded will support the administration of these exams.
  • The exams test knowledge of builders in the ACT.
  • Builders have two opportunities to sit the exam before licences are refused or not renewed.

Informed industry and empowered community

  • Four new officers will support the government’s focus on developing an informed industry and an empowered community when it comes to their rights and responsibilities on building.
  • This new team will also assist in targeting resources of the building regulator to those areas of greatest risk and harm through data analysis and connectivity.

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