Fair Trading enquiries
13 32 20

Home Show 2017: See you there 24-26 March at Darling Harbour


The HIA Sydney Home Show is almost here once again, with this year's event to be held from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 March at a new venue - the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. 

Whether you're visiting or exhibiting, stop by and say hello to the friendly NSW Fair Trading team. We'll be on stand E09, with our experts on hand to answer any questions relating to home building, licensing, or other general Fair Trading-related matters. 

For more information on the Show, and to register for your free tickets, please visit the Home Show website.


Clarifying head contractor’s retention money trust auditing requirements


Head contractors who operate retention money trust accounts will be given a limited exemption from annual reporting requirements beginning 10 March 2017.

Under the 2008 Regulation contractors are required to place retention money held under construction contracts in a trust account with an authorised deposit-taking institution. With the new amendment an exemption to head contractors will apply if:

  1. no amount of money has been deposited or withdrawn from the retention money trust account during the financial year; and
  2. no amount of money is retained in the retention money trust account at the end of the financial year; and
  3. the Commissioner of NSW Fair Trading has been notified in writing of the information contained in subparagraph (a) and (b) within 3 months after the end of the financial year.

The amendment will ensure industry is not unnecessarily burdened with reporting requirement and lodgement fees when a trust account has not been active during the financial year under review.

Find out more about retention money trust accounts or make an enquiry through on our website or call us on 13 32 20.

Legislation: Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Amendment (Trust Account Holders) Regulation 2017.


Strata building bonds and inspection scheme


Strata laws have been modernised in NSW, with most major changes having started on 30 November 2016. Further changes concerning new strata buildings will apply from 1 July 2017.

The Strata building bonds and inspections scheme requires developers to lodge a building bond equal to 2 per cent of the total contract price for residential and mixed use strata buildings over three storeys. The bond can pay for defective work identified by a building inspector and not rectified by the developer and/or builder within the required timeframe.

The introduction of Part 11 into the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and Part 8 into the Regulation 2016, will affect building works started or contracts signed on and after 1 July.

The Strata schemes area of the Fair Trading website contains the Building bond information page which will continue being updated as key industry stakeholder engagements progress.

Enquiries regarding the Strata building bond and inspection scheme may be made through the Fair Trading website selecting the topic of ‘Strata’.   


New Home Building Compensation Fund premium pricing effective from 3 April 2017


If you’re a building contractor with current HBCF insurance eligibility, you should have been issued with a personalised letter from your broker, notifying you of the new premium pricing.  If you are a building contractor with eligibility and have not yet received this letter, please contact your broker immediately.

New HBCF pricing will take effect on 3 April 2017 and 2 October 2017. The amount of premium increase varies for the different types of residential construction.

The new pricing includes the introduction of risk-based pricing for individual builders so that builders with lower risk characteristics will no longer subsidise higher-risk businesses.

The new premiums also change the way brokers are paid. A fee-for-service will be added to the premium by the broker rather than a commission paid by the HBCF. If you have a question on fees, please contact your broker.

Further pricing changes for higher risk construction types will be phased in during 2018 to achieve a fully funded scheme.

The HBCF online Pricing Calculator has been revised to apply the correct premium for the date the insurance is to commence. Using the calculator, you can apply your risk-based discount or loading for an indicative quote on HBCF premiums.

 For more information on the changes, please visit the icare hbcf website


Home building contracts can’t be used for swimming pool certification


Accredited swimming pool certifiers (E1 certifiers) can’t just use the same contract template for their certification work that they use for their building work.

A contract for swimming pool certification work must include all the information required by the Building Professionals Regulation.

The Building Professionals Board’s contract template for swimming pool certification is the easiest way to ensure your contract meets legal requirements.
Also required for minor works certifiers: If you’re authorised to carry out minor works on a swimming pool, the contract must also include the ‘important information for pool owners’ document published by the Building Professionals Board. The pool owner must sign this document before you inspect the pool.
Note: you are allowed to modify the template contract (just make sure it meets all regulatory requirements), but you are not allowed to modify the ‘important information for pool owners’ document.
In summary, a contract for swimming pool certification must include, at minimum:

  • your name, accreditation number, business address, phone number and email
  • your client’s name, address and contact details
  • the name of your professional indemnity insurer, your policy number, and the start and end dates of your insurance
  • details of the certification work to be carried out
  • your fees (to be paid upfront), and how you will calculate any fees for additional work due to unforeseen circumstances (to be invoiced within 21 days of the additional work being completed)
  • the date when the contract is made
  • your signature and your client’s signature.

For more information, visit the Building Professionals Board’s website or contact the Board: (02) 8522 7800 or bpb@bpb.nsw.gov.au.


Insurance levy reform: monitor to protect policy holders


If you have insurance for your property, contents or car in NSW, you are probably paying a fee or levy in your insurance premium.

The insurance levy helps fund the emergency and fire services in NSW. 

The property levy, to be charged alongside council rates, will fund the emergency services in the 2017-18 financial year. 

When you renew or take out insurance, make sure you: 

  • check your policy for details of the levy 
  • contact your insurance provider for clarification 
  • contact the Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor (ESLIM) if you are not satisfied with the response.

ESLIM is an independent agency who oversees the insurance levy removal and protects policyholders. 

For more information, visit the ESLIM website or call the hotline on 1300 607 723.