Fair Trading enquiries
13 32 20

Strata building bond scheme - commencement date 


The new strata building bond and inspection scheme (the scheme) will now commence on 1 January 2018. It was originally scheduled to commence on 1 July 2017.

This means that the scheme will only apply to construction contracts signed (or where there is no contract and building work commences) from 1 January 2018. NSW Fair Trading will not require developers of new strata schemes to lodge defect bonds before 31 December 2017.

The commencement date has been delayed so that all procedural and professional requirements supporting the scheme are in place before commencement. This includes finalisation of:

  • the new standards and procedures relating to strata-specific building inspections
  • new digital business processes to support bond lodgement and processing of the scheme. 

NSW Fair Trading has been working with stakeholders in the strata, legal, building and development sectors in developing the scheme.

For information on the scheme visit the Building bond page on the Fair Trading website


Non-conforming and non-complying building products


Building work in Australia must conform and comply with the National Construction Code (NCC), relevant technical standards, and local laws.  This ensures our buildings are safe, healthy and durable which means we can all have confidence in their performance.

The products and materials you choose and how they are used must be ‘fit for purpose’.

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the risks of using substandard (‘non-conforming’) building products or materials, or using them incorrectly (‘non-complying’).  Use of these products can cause significant costs – from repairing and replacing products, to risks to safety, or even building failure.

NSW Fair Trading has a new dedicated webpage providing information on non-conforming building products to assist industry.

Visit the Non-conforming building products page on the Fair Trading website to learn how to select and use products and materials that conform and comply with Australian building laws and standards.


FREE Fair Trading building business expos and home building seminars


NSW Fair Trading will be conducting free building business expos in Orange, Sutherland, Castle Hill, Penrith, Chatswood, Hexham, Mittagong and Liverpool from August to November this year. The expos run for 3-hours and provide licensed builders, contractors, tradespeople and their business partners with in-depth information and direct access to industry experts who can provide practical advice to help them run their businesses.  

We also conduct free 2-hour home building information seminars throughout the year. These industry education events include information for builders, swimming pool builders, tradespeople and their business partners. Upcoming locations for the seminars include: Tamworth, Belmont, Cootamundra, Camden, Coffs Harbour and Lismore.

Licensed builders and swimming pool builders will earn 3 CPD points for their attendance at a Building Expo and 2 CPD points for their attendance at a seminar.

For more information and to register visit the Fair Trading events page or call 13 32 20.


NSW Guide to Standards and Tolerances 2017


A new 2017 edition of the NSW Guide to Standards and Tolerances (the Guide), produced by NSW Fair Trading, was released in March this year to coincide with the HIA Sydney Home Show.

The Guide helps builders and home owners if building work is in dispute. It deals with such topics as shrinkage around timber window frames, door frames, nail popping in timber floors, paving through to footings and foundations.

Read The Guide for an understanding of the tolerances that are considered when determining whether a building element has been installed/constructed to an acceptable standard. Remember that The Guide is not a legal document, it should be regarded as an advisory resource rather than a series of prescriptive definitions.

Visit the Fair Trading website for more information or download the PDF (1.9mb).


Coming soon - more choices for builders on home building compensation scheme 


The NSW Parliament has passed new laws to reform the home building compensation scheme (formerly known as Home Warranty Insurance). Private providers will be invited to apply to join the home building compensation market from early 2018 and offer builders and tradies competitive premiums and products with a wider range of options or features.

The reforms mean that builders will still:

  • need to get home building compensation cover for residential building work in NSW costing more than $20,000, such as new home constructions (including multi-unit buildings of three storeys or less) or home renovations
  • be able to use a broker to access these products
  • need to give a certificate of insurance to the homeowner before starting work or accepting any money, including a deposit.

The NSW Government’s insurance regulator, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), will independently set the standards that all providers, including icare must use.

SIRA will seek industry input in the coming months about what the new standards should be, including for builder eligibility and premiums under the new scheme.

This video outlines the reasons for reform.

To find out what the reforms could mean for you, and how to have your say visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority website.


Fee increase


From 1 July 2017, many of the fees Fair Trading charges for services provided will be increased by 1.84% to reflect the increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI). The adjustment of fees is part of the annual fee update we do each year. Fees for the home building industry will be increased as part of this process and will be available on the Fair Trading website from 1 July 2017.

This year Fair Trading is introducing fee units in order to provide a simple mechanism for fees to be automatically adjusted each year. Fees have been expressed as fee units rather than dollar amounts. Fees will then be automatically adjusted each year from 1 July 2018 by adjusting the value of a fee unit to account for the change in CPI. Fee units will reduce the cost to Fair Trading and taxpayers, from having to manually adjust every fee each year.


Certifiers don’t work for builders


A reminder that builders or tradespeople must not offer or give any benefit to an accredited certifier. 

All certifiers are public officials/authorities by law, and independent regulators of compliance with planning and building legislation and codes. They must put the public interest first and should act free of any influence.

Influencing or trying to influence a certifier attracts a penalty of up to $1.1M and/or two years imprisonment under the Building Professionals Act 2005.

Promising future work to a certifier if he/she issues an occupation certificate faster is one way a builder or developer might influence a certifier. 

Only the property owner can appoint a principal certifying authority (PCA). PCAs can only be appointed by the owner of a development (person with the development consent). A PCA can only be appointed by a builder if the builder is also the owner of the property.  

Q: Can builders bundle a housing contract to appoint their ‘preferred’ certifier together with the building contract signed by the owner?

A: Owners, not builders, have the choice in who certifies their development.

Builders who recommend a particular certifier should explain to the owner that he/she is entitled to appoint a different certifier or the council as the PCA. This is a simple way for builders to help establish trust with clients and convey their integrity.

If this does not take place property owners may not be aware they’ve appointed a certifier, let alone who it is. Should a building dispute then arise, the owner may perceive there to be collusion between the builder and certifier. This increases the risk to builders of a complaint being made to Fair Trading. It may also make it more difficult for the builder to finalise the project and receive final payment, particularly where payment is linked to an occupation certificate.

The Building Professionals Board’s website has more about builders’ responsibilities in the certification system


Have your say on the proposed Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2017


Plumbing and drainage work is regulated in NSW by the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2012. NSW Fair Trading is proposing to replace the 2012 Regulation with the draft Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2017. The draft Regulation is largely the same as the 2012 Regulation, however features some key changes including:

  • revising Fair Trading’s fee structure for audit inspections of plumbing and drainage work to make it fairer and more cost reflective
  • removing the requirement that a notice of work must be given to the plumbing regulator two days before work not involving an alternative solution commences
  • reducing the penalty payable for certain penalty notice offences
  • other minor changes to update requirements.

NSW Fair Trading is seeking industry and community feedback on the draft Regulation. To view the draft Regulation and Regulatory Impact Statement which explains the proposed changes, visit the Have Your Say Page on the Fair Trading website. Submissions can be made until Friday, 7 July 2017


Consumer building guide fact sheets


The Consumer building guide facts sheets have been translated in to Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. To view and download the fact sheets visit the Fair Trading Website. The Consumer building guide is a mandatory document issued by NSW Fair Trading. By law, tradespeople must give consumers a copy of the guide before they enter a contract for residential building work worth more than $5,000. The English version can be downloaded from the consumer building guide page.