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Free home building expos drive business success

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Keep up-to-date with the latest in the residential building industry. July to November 2016 is the season for NSW Fair Trading’s always popular and free annual Building Business Expo Program.

The informative evening expos offer practical support and advice for licensed contractors and their business partners on business improvement strategies, legislative changes, regulatory requirements, contracts, disputes, licensing, compliance issues, plumbing regulation, asset protection, long service entitlements, home building compensation fund, taxation issues, continuing professional development, workplace safety, and industry associations.

Book early! The 2015 program was attended by over 1,000 people and participants provided very positive feedback on the three-hour seminars. Get expert advice on a wide range of home building issues, meet others in the industry and earn free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Conveniently, expos are held in the evening so you can fit around work commitments.

The 2016 expos will be held at Condell Park, Hornsby, Kempsey, Newcastle, Wollongong, Parramatta, Gosford and Dee Why. Check our Events Register for details and book online. Select 'Home Building' from the topic menu and find an event near you.


Business tools: Start up. Scale up. Innovate.

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It’s not always easy to know if your business is working as well as it could or what the best way is to expand and modernise in a competitive market.

Through the Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC), the NSW Government provides a range of resources to help support small builders and tradespeople start up, scale up and innovate.

Whether you’re an old hand or new to the game, and whatever your trade, the NSW OSBC can help you build a sustainable and successful business through:

  • tailored business advice, including strategic guidance, confidential mediation and dispute resolution services

  • access to tools such as business ‘health checks’ plus other resources and ongoing support

  • providing a voice for small business in government by giving you the opportunity to raise issues important to your small business.

Senior staff from the NSW Office of the Small Business Commissioner will again be present at NSW Fair Trading’s Building Business Expos from July to November 2016.

Connect & find out more:


Smart meter providers

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On 1 July 2016, NSW Fair Trading became responsible for electrical safety and compliance for advanced electrical meters (‘smart’ meters) and related installation work under the Electrical Supply Amendment (Advanced meters) Act 2016. This Act amends the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and Regulation 2015.

Metering and related metering installation work was previously the responsibility of electricity distributors.

The amending Act, passed by Parliament in March 2016, supports the voluntary, market-led roll-out of advanced ‘smart’ meters in NSW. A new national metering arrangement is due to come into effect on 1 December 2017.

Further information, including links to the legislation, is available on the Smart meter providers web page on the Fair Trading website.

Also, find out about smart meters in NSW on the Department of Industry Resources & Energy website.


Great to see you @ HIA Sydney Home Show

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Tens of thousands of tradespeople and consumers looking to build or renovate, attended the ever popular HIA Sydney Home Show from 26-29 May at Homebush.

NSW Fair Trading’s stand was, as always, in demand with visitors wanting information on all aspects of the building process.  Assisting consumers to check their tradie’s licence online, was a particularly sought after service.

Fair Trading also played a prominent role at the HIA’s Building and Business event, which happened as a side event to the Home Show.

Thanks to everyone who came along to the NSW Fair Trading stand and asked a question or just said hello to our staff.

Some early dates for your diary – next year’s show will be held from 24-26 March 2017 at Darling Harbour. We look forward to seeing you at that event.

Standards and Tolerances Guide update

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Fair Trading is currently producing a NSW Guide to Standards and Tolerances 2016, which will be released before the end of the year. A range of different publishing options are being explored and we would like to hear from you about things like:

  • how you use the Standards and Tolerances Guide?

  • whether you would prefer to use a digital mobile-friendly version, rather than carry around a printed copy?
To help shape the publication of the new NSW Standards and Tolerances Guide, please answer just a few short questions in our survey.

Fee changes for 2016-17

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From 1 July 2016, many of the NSW Fair Trading service fees increased by 1.97 per cent to reflect the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

Service fees for the home building industry, such as licence and certificate fees, will be increased as part of this annual fee update process. 

The new fees are published on NSW Fair Trading’s Home building fees web page.

Builders busted

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NSW Fair Trading’s blitz on unlicensed and dishonest builders is set to continue indefinitely. Six more NSW tradies were prosecuted in June. This included the following two convictions.

On 22 June 2016, Nicholas Tragoustis of Earlwood received a 15 month prison sentence over the forging of a fake Home Building Compensation Fund certificate for $680,000 worth of renovations to a Concord home. Mr Tragoustis knew his warranty insurance only covered him for a maximum of $500,000 work to a single dwelling. He pleaded guilty in the Parramatta Local Court to using a false document to obtain financial advantage. His sentence will be served by way of an Intensive Correction Order.

On 23 June 2016, Grant Scott McDonald of Wilberforce, was ordered by Parramatta Local Court to pay $10,340 in fines and costs, after being convicted of offences under the Home Building Act, including unlicensed building and failure to provide Home Building Compensation Fund cover.

Fair Trading investigators are determined to track down unlawful activity in the residential building sector, no matter where it is operating in NSW.  Weeding out shonky builders and tradies improves outcomes for consumers and also supports the honest, licensed, hard-working builders who do the right thing. You can read more in our media release.


Pool certifiers to do minor repairs swimmingly

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To speed up the process of making pools safer, many swimming pool inspectors are now able to conduct minor repairs.

The Building Professionals Regulation 2007 has been amended to allow certain pool certifiers (E1, A1, A2 and A3), to carry out minor repairs to make a swimming pool comply with the Swimming Pools Act 1992. To carry out minor repairs, certifiers must be authorised under the Home Building Act 1989 to carry out swimming pool building or structural landscaping.

The law has also been changed to improve child safety and avoid delays in rectifying defects.

Detailed information about this matter can be found on the NSW Government Building Professionals Board (BPB) Swimming pool and certification page.

Interested in becoming a pool certifier?
Certifiers accredited in Category E1 – ‘Swimming Pool Certification’ specialise in swimming pool barrier inspections.

You could be eligible to apply for accreditation in category E1 if you’re already an unconditionally accredited A4 certifier, or hold an endorsed contractor’s licence or qualified supervisor’s certificate issued under the Home Building Act 1989, which includes the authority to:

• construct a swimming pool

• construct structural landscaping.

For more information about applying for accreditation in category E1 or another category, visit the Building Professionals Board website and click on the tab: ‘Become a certifier’.


Congratulations for SafeWork in storms. But stay alert! 

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NSW Fair Trading is delighted to join our regulatory partner, SafeWork NSW, in congratulating the construction industry on a zero injury result across building sites during NSW’s recent lashing with heavy rain and gale-force winds.

Wet and windy conditions can be a major factor in workplace incidents, particularly work involving heavy loads or scaffolding on construction sites.

“That there were only a small number of incidents and no injuries, indicates there is thought, planning and preparation happening ahead of wild weather,” said Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy.

While this is great news, it will probably come as no surprise that a number of near misses were reported.  At one construction site, heavy winds blew pallets of concrete blocks into a building, while workers were lifting them with a crane, causing damage and scattering the blocks up to five metres around. Thankfully workers were outside the exclusion zone and clear of the blocks.

SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading encourage the industry to be alert to extra risks associated with storms, even after the storms subside. For example, it takes time for soggy grounds to dry and stabilise and objects dislodged by winds may fall later.

“It’s essential that businesses conduct a site-specific risk assessment and site controllers talk with workers to ensure adequate planning and preparation is in place for potential hazards,” Mr Dunphy said.

Make sure you follow SafeWork NSW on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for warnings and news issued ahead of such events. Also, read the latest SafeWork NSW warnings for information and recommendations about working in wet and windy conditions.

Be aware … is asbestos in there?
Another hidden hazard for those involved with the clean-up and recovery of damaged buildings or property after storms and floods is … asbestos!!  Buildings built before 1987 may contain asbestos and if it gets damaged during a storm, issues can arise.

Read SafeWork NSW’s Property hazards after storms and floods warning. If you suspect that a building contains asbestos call SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50 as soon as possible.