Fair Trading enquiries
13 32 20

Strengthening certification in NSW - release of the Building Professionals Act review

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The NSW Government has released the final report of the statutory review of the Building Professionals Act 2005 conducted by Michael Lambert and the detailed Government Response to the review.

The Act establishes the Building Professionals Board and the system of accreditation and regulation of certifiers in NSW.

The Government response addresses the report's 150 recommendations, and outlines the actions it will take in developing reforms to building and development certification in NSW in consultation with industry stakeholders.

The announced reforms will allocate additional functions to the Fair Trading Home Building Service. To reflect these changes, the Home Building Service will be renamed the 'Building and Construction Service'.

Visit the Building Professionals Board website for more information and the full report.

Updated Service and Installation Rules
for electricians

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The NSW Department of Industry have recently revised the Service and Installation Rules (the Rules) of NSW. The Rules cover the requirements for the connection of electrical installations to the distribution network, and are used by electricians and Accredited Service Providers.

The Rules have been updated to reflect the roll-out of smart meters in NSW. The revised Rules should be implemented as soon as practicable, and may be applied now.
In any case:
i) All metering work is to comply with chapter 4 of the Rules after 30 September 2016 (it is expected that fuse derating to 80 amps can occur immediately), and,
ii) All work must comply with the new Rules after 30 November 2016.

For copies of the new Rules, including a version highlighting the changes from the previous version, please visit the Department of Industry website , where you'll also find a summary of amendments.

New NCAT video explains the application process

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As a builder or tradesperson, if you find yourself in disagreement with a homeowner, it's best to attempt to resolve the issue between yourselves, or via the NSW Fair Trading home building dispute resolution service.

Where this isn't possible, one or both parties may wish to escalate the matter to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

To help people representing themselves prepare for their hearing, NCAT have recently launched a series of online videos on a range of topics, including a home building conflict.

The video shows how NCAT hears applications by home owners, tradespeople and insurers and is also available in Arabic, Mandarin, Greek and Vietnamese. For links to all of the videos, visit the  NCAT website.

Update on Building Business expos

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A brief update on the annual Building Business Expo program we told you about in the last edition of Foundations: 

NSW Fair Trading has so far held five 2016 Building Business expos, at Condell Park, Hornsby, Kempsey, Newcastle and Wollongong. We've had solid attendances and positive feedback from each event.

These informative evening CPD seminars offer practical support and advice for licensed contractors and their business partners on a range of topics including business improvement strategies, legislative changes, regulatory requirements, contracts, disputes, licensing, taxation issues and workplace safety.

The three remaining expos for 2016 will be held at Parramatta, Gosford and Dee Why. To book your free place, visit the Fair Trading Events Register and select 'Home Building' from the topic menu.

Checking on the health of plumbing in Indigenous communities

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The NSW Fair Trading yearly Plumbing Health Check program recently travelled to Indigenous communities in the Wentworth district. Site inspections were carried out on properties in the towns of Wentworth, Dareton, Commealla, Buronga, Gol Gol, Euston and Namatjira.

The Plumbing Health Check team, which consisted of licensed plumbers from Fair Trading, licensed plumbers and apprentices from the Master Plumbers Association (MPA), the Fair Trading Aboriginal Programs team and PIAS administration staff, visited 125 properties. The team carried out free inspections and in some cases, immediate plumbing repairs were provided at the time of the site visit.

NSW Fair Trading would like to thank the Master Plumbers and their suppliers for their support of the Plumbing Health Check program. Currently, Fair Trading are looking at further Indigenous communities that could benefit from this program.

Working with the Principal Certifying Authority - advice from the Building Professionals Board

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The Building Professionals Board (BPB) offers advice to builders on how to most effectively work with the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) to avoid inspection delays and secure your final payment quicker, as follows:

After the PCA's final inspection there may still be outstanding subcontractor certificates, document registration or minor work to be finished. It's best to address these outstanding matters as soon as possible - if the delay is too long, the PCA may require a re-inspection before issuing an occupation certificate.

Generally, the builder is responsible for notifying the PCA when a mandatory critical stage inspection is required and it's important to provide advance notice. If work proceeds without the critical stage inspection an occupation certificate may be refused, and this could affect the final contract payment.

Remember, a complying development certificate (CDC) can only be issued for proposed development, not for work that is already built.

If you start building before a CDC application is determined, it will be refused. Your client will then need to apply to the council for a building certificate and development consent. Read the BPB info sheet for further detail on the responsibilities of the builder under NSW planning legislation.

Fuelling a better deal for NSW motorists - FuelCheck 

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If your work involves driving around between multiple job sites, the cost of constantly putting fuel in the tank can really add up. The new FuelCheck website is here to help you get the best deal on fuel, anywhere in NSW. The site lists real-time pricing information for every servo in the state.

Simply visit www.fuelcheck.nsw.gov.au from any device connected to the internet, search for your preferred fuel type, enter the suburb, town or postcode and off you go!

Check out the FuelCheck page on the Fair Trading website for more info, and remember to never use your mobile phone while driving.