Our Winter edition of Foundations includes plenty of useful tips and topics, including info on - Nominated Qualified Supervisors, changes to the Home Building Compensation Fund and the Consumer Building Guide. You can also read about the upcoming 2015 Building Business Expo Program and don’t forget to mark the event dates in your diary.

As always please email your comments and ideas for future stories to foundations@finance.nsw.gov.au

Free Home Building Expos help builders and traders drive business success 

NSW Fair Trading’s annual Building Business Expo Program is back from August, helping licencees to keep up-to-date in the residential building industry. The informative evening expos are free and offer practical support and advice for licensed contractors and their business partners on business improvement strategies, regulatory requirements, building contracts and variations, mediating disputes, licensing, plumbing regulation, home building compensation and workplace safety.
Fair Trading staff and event attendees interacting at a 2014 Building Business Expo
The 2014 program was attended by 1,200 people and participants reported high satisfaction; some of the comments included “I found all the speakers to be very knowledgeable and engaging. I walked away feeling that it was 3 hrs very well spent… I would highly recommend attendance to any builder.” and “The information and the speakers were all fantastic, engaging and all really relevant to the building Industry and to me trying to establish my small construction business.”

The 2015 expos will be held at Cowra, Liverpool, West Ryde, Newcastle, Dee Why, Hurstville, Lismore and Wollongong.

Check our Events Register for details and to book online. Select 'Building Business Expo' from the topic menu and find an event near you. 

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Red tape cut for insurance applications for residential projects over $20, 000

Currently, builders and tradies insured under the Home Building Compensation Fund are subject to a capped amount of insurance they can purchase each year, restricting the number of projects that can be taken on.

From 4 August 2015 new ‘open job limits’ will replace annual limits. This means that fund applicants (builders and tradies) will have a rolling insurance limit, allowing new jobs to start as current ones are confirmed as complete.

The changes are due to a new IT system that will make it easier to monitor activity undertaken by fund applicants. Projects will be monitored in real time by number and values, making it simpler for contractors to get insurance for new projects when they complete a previous project.

This means eligible builders can take on more work without requiring an insurance eligibility review.

Contractors are required to take out insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund for jobs worth more than $20,000. Visit the Home Building Compensation Fund page on our website for more information.

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Top Tip – Download the consumer building guide
A reminder that all builders or tradies entering into contracts worth more than $5,000 must give consumers a copy of the Consumer building guide outlining their responsibilities and rights.
visual of consumer building guide

Following the recent home building reforms the guide has been updated and streamlined into a straightforward, easy to download and print 2-page document. 

Copies of the guide prior to 1 March 2015 are no longer current and should not be used.

Home building contracts incorporating the guide should be updated.

Visit the Consumer building guide page on our website for more information or download the guide directly here.

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Great to see you at the HIA NSW Sydney Home Show

Sydney’s biggest trade show (28-31 May) was the place to be for tens of thousands of licensed tradespeople and consumers looking to build or renovate. NSW Fair Trading staff were on-hand to provide information to builders, tradies and consumers on all aspects of the building and renovating process.

Staff and builder at the 2015 HIA Home Show

Popular with consumers was how to do an online licence check, the consumer building guide, insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund and major changes to home

Thanks to all licensed builders and tradespeople who came and said hello, we look forward to talking with you again next year. building laws. We also participated in the HIA’s Building & Business event, which ran alongside the show.

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Have you subscribed for free access to the National Construction Code?

The National Construction Code, comprising the Building Code of Australia and the Plumbing Code of Australia, is now available for FREE online and already 40,000 registered users have taken advantage. Previously access to the code cost businesses up to $500 per annum. Making access to the code free is a positive step towards increased compliance, a reduction in defects and a more efficient and effective building sector.

For more information or to access the National Construction Code, builders and industry participants can visit The Australian Building Codes Board website.

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Review of the Electricity(Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006

Minimum safety standards for electrical items (including electrical appliances and equipment) and electrical wiring are regulated by the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006. The NSW Government is currently reviewing the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006 as part of a standard review process. A Regulatory Impact Statement and Public Consultation Draft Regulation are now available on the Have Your Say pages of our website. Written comments and submissions must be received by Friday 24 July 2015.

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Top Tip – Make sure your home building company or partnership has a Nominated Qualified Supervisor

Don’t forget that all home building companies and partnerships must have a nominated supervisor for the company/partnership.  If you are the holder of a company or partnership licence remember that:

  • The nominated supervisor must consent to be the supervisor for the company/partnership. Fair Trading has uncovered a considerable number of cases where a Nominated Qualified Supervisor has advised our investigators that they did not know that they were the nominated supervisor for a company until approached regarding alleged breaches of contract.
  • If only one qualified supervisor is nominated, they must also hold a current endorsed individual contractor licence or qualified supervisor certificate that includes all classes of work that your company or partnership contracts for.
  • You must notify Fair Trading within 7 days of ceasing to have a nominated supervisor. Failure to notify is an offence.
  • If, without prior consent from Fair Trading, you are more than 30 days without a nominated supervisor who is acceptable to Fair Trading, your licence will be cancelled.

For more information, visit the Nominated qualified supervisors page on our website.

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Home building video on dispute resolution

In our last edition we profiled our home building inspectors. Learn more on dispute resolution by checking out our supporting local communities home building video. It features an inspector talking about the work he does to settle disputes. Free dispute resolution is a service we offer to both traders and consumers.

Watch the video on the Fair Trading YouTube channel

For more information on dispute resolution, visit the Dispute resolution page on our website.

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Infinity cable recall

You may be aware Infinity Electrical cables are currently under a national product recall after they failed to meet electrical safety standards due to poor quality plastic insulation coating. The recall relates to all sizes and configurations of white TPS and Orange Round infinity mains power cables. Olsent power cables sourced from Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd are also affected. The cables were supplied in NSW between 2010 and 2013.  

Builders and electricians should liaise with the cable supplier where they purchased the cable and discuss the remedies available as part of the national safety recall.

Electricians and builders should also return unused Infinity cable to their place of purchase for a full refund.

Under the recall if electricians have supplied and installed Infinity cables in a home and that cable was sourced from one of the cable suppliers undertaking a safety recall, then the consumer is entitled to ask the electrician and the supplier to fix the problem.

More information is available at ACCC – Infinity electrical cable recall and ACCC- Infinity cables frequently asked questions – electricians, builders and suppliers. You can also read our media release NSW backs national recall
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Compliance update

Arrest warrant out for elusive trader

NSW Fair Trading recently announced an arrest warrant for Sydney trader, Khairul Hasan Sikder (pictured here), after the defendant failed to appear at a court hearing.  The trader was due to face the Parramatta Local Court on three charges under the Home Building Act 1989, two charges under the Australian Consumer Law and two counts of fraud under the Crimes Act 1900.

Image of Khairul Hasan SikderMr Sikder claimed he was a qualified licensed builder, trading under the name ASP Building Services Pty Ltd, when in fact he had no association with the company nor did he hold a licence, so the incomplete work undertaken was not covered by home warranty insurance.

Anyone with knowledge of Mr Sikder’s whereabouts should contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.  If proven guilty, the trader could face imprisonment.

Public warning on unlicensed Parramatta builder

Fair Trading recently warned the public against dealing with any unlicensed home builders or building companies for work valued over $5,000.

Consumers were specifically warned not to enter into contracts with ‘Inspiration Homes’ (Inspiration Homes Pty Ltd, ACN 140 929 175) as it is an unlicensed entity. Neither Inspiration Homes or its director Mr Nikola Vujasin hold a contractor licence to contract or to do residential building work in NSW. Fair Trading has received 13 complaints from consumers this year about work contracted by Inspiration Homes, which in many cases is left incomplete, of an unsatisfactory standard and/or uninsured.

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Annual fee change from 1 July

Fair Trading has adjusted the fees we charge under the Home Building Act, including fees for new licences and renewals, to coincide with the start of the financial year on 1 July 2015.

The adjusted fees are part of the annual update that we do each year to reflect changes in the cost of providing our services.

You can check the updated fees on the Fees page of our website.

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WorkCover NSW update

Falls from flatbed trucks

WorkCover NSW has just released a new video safety alert. Watch the video on the Falls from flatbed trucks and trailers – safety alert web page on the WorkCover website.

Falls from flatbed trucks are often serious and in some instances fatal, and this video outlines simple tips to help keep your people safe while loading and unloading.

Dial Before You Dig

Dial Before You Dig is a referral service for information on locating underground utilities anywhere in Australia. As a builder or contractor you can let them know where you plan to dig and they pass that information on to the underground utility owners who will then respond directly to you with the cable and pipe location information.

Throughout the year Dial Before You Dig run free information sessions across NSW. Keep your eyes on the Upcoming events page on the Dial Before You Dig website for more information. Visit the Dial Before You Dig website for more details on the service.

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