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Welcome from the Commissioner - Rose Webb

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As the recently appointed NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading, I am very pleased to welcome you to this edition of Foundations. Since joining Fair Trading I have become increasingly aware of the wide range of work that Fair Trading does in the building and construction sector to ensure high standards and good consumer outcomes. An important part of our role at Fair Trading is informing industry participants about the latest news and developments and helping you to comply with regulatory requirements. I hope that you find the information in this and our other Fair Trading publications both useful and interesting.


Inter-agency collaboration leading to arrest of Matthew Geoffrey Rixon

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On 2 March 2018, the NSW Supreme Court sentenced unlicensed building contractor Matthew Geoffrey Rixon to 18 months jail for contempt of court, because Mr Rixon was still doing building work after the Supreme Court had previously given him a lifetime ban.

Mr Rixon was arrested on the Gold Coast and taken to the Southport Magistrate’s Court where he was extradited to NSW. Mr Rixon was arrested on a bench warrant issued from the NSW Supreme Court after he did not appear on contempt proceedings initiated by NSW Fair Trading.

This arrest was a result of four agencies working together. NSW Fair Trading worked with the NSW Police, Queensland Police and the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, and found Mr Rixon from a tip-off after the release of a public warning.


Transfer of swimming pools regulatory scheme to NSW Fair Trading

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On 1 January 2018 the swimming pools regulatory scheme transferred from the Office of Local Government (OLG) to NSW Fair Trading.

There is no change to the bulk of the functions which will continue to be carried out by local councils and/or accredited certifiers. The obligations that are now NSW Fair Trading’s responsibility mostly relate to:

  • approval of forms for certificate of compliance and non-compliance
  • keeping and administration of the NSW Swimming Pools Register
  • issuing statements of pool registration status.

More information for pool owners is available on the NSW Fair Trading website.


Builders: don't forget to book critical stage inspections

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Keep a record of when all critical stage inspections are required and do not keep building past the inspection date.

Important reminders:

  • Photos or reports of work completed are not a substitute for a physical inspection.
  • Only the authorised principal certifying authority (PCA) can conduct an inspection, you cannot arrange your own inspector.
  • If the PCA can’t attend the inspection, only they have legal authority to approve another certifier to attend.

If a critical stage inspection is missed, the PCA is unable to issue an Occupation Certificate (OC). This will lead to lengthy delays and could prevent you from getting paid your final payment.

Read more about a builder’s responsibilities under planning legislation on the Building Professionals Board website.


Call for submissions on cladding - closes 23 April 2018 

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Fair Trading is calling for public submissions on whether a building product use ban is warranted for some uses of aluminium composite panels, polystyrene products or similar.

In particular whether a ban is warranted for their use in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, façade or rendered finish on a building of two or more stories.

More information and details on how to make a submission are included on the NSW Fair Trading website.


Delay to the requirements for building wiring cable to be labelled with an approval mark

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On 7 March 2017, building wiring cable became a declared electrical article in NSW. To allow industry sufficient time to comply with the new requirements, NSW Fair Trading determined the date of application as 29 January 2018. This date was set after significant consultation with key stakeholders across the electrical wiring sector.

Immediately after the commencement of the new requirement NSW Fair Trading was advised by many key stakeholders that, for a variety of reasons, a significant amount of approved building wiring cable did not have the required electrical safety approval marking on the articles. 

NSW Fair Trading considers that the new labelling requirement is an important reform to ensure that only approved building wiring cable is used in the NSW building and construction sector. However, given the practical issues that many industry stakeholders faced at the January commencement date NSW Fair Trading considered it reasonable to provide a five month extension as a transitional measure.

An Exemption Order has been made which permits persons to sell declared building wiring cable without electrical safety approval marking if the cable is otherwise compliant to all other requirements. The exemption order will expire on 1 July 2018.

During this exemption period, suppliers of building wiring cable which is approved but not labelled on the product itself are strongly encouraged to identify the relevant compliance number in other locations surrounding the point of sale – for example, using labels adhered to the cable barrels or next to pricing information. Purchasers of building wiring cable should ask their supplier to identify the appropriate compliance number so there is no confusion.

When the exemption period expires on 1 July 2018, an electrical safety approval mark will be required to be marked on all building wiring cable. After this date, markings on the cable drum (or elsewhere near the product) will not be sufficient. NSW Fair Trading recognises both the approval number as specified on the approval certificate or the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) as a valid electrical safety approval mark.

For more information please contact the Electrical and Gas Unit at electricalsafety@finance.nsw.gov.au


New online Compliance Certificate of Electrical Work (CCEW) in development

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NSW Fair Trading is currently developing a new online Compliance Certificate of Electrical Work (CCEW) which is expected to launch in by the middle of this year.

By law a CCEW is completed by electricians within 7 days of completing any safety and compliance test on an electrical installation.  Currently these are completed using paper books or using the CCEW ‘Smart’ pdf form available on the Fair Trading website. When introduced, the new online form will allow electricians to quickly and easily complete the CCEW while on the job using a phone, tablet or laptop. 

To preview the online CCEW electricians can register for the ‘Wiring Rules Roadshow’ being run by the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), where Fair Trading will be presenting at the NSW events (see the story below for further details).

Keep tuned to Foundations to find out when the tool is launched.

Further information on electrical compliance requirements can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website.


National Electrical and Communications Association's (NECA) Wiring Rules Roadshow

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NECA is staging a ‘Wiring Rules Roadshow’ to inform electricians across NSW and the ACT about the new AS/NZS 3000: 2018 Wiring Rules Standard. The roadshow summarises the most important features and changes to the AS/NZS 3000 Wiring Rules Standard, which sets out mandatory requirements for the design, construction and verification of all electrical installations across Australia.

NSW Fair Trading will be present at the NSW events on the new online Certificate of Compliance for Electrical Work (CCEW) forms which are currently under development.

Details of the seminars and how to register are available on the National Electrical and Communications Association’s website. Contact NECA NSW on (02) 9744 1099 or by email necansw@neca.asn.au with any questions or for more information.


New requirements for home building contracts over $20K

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Cover under the reformed Home Building Compensation (HBC) Scheme – formerly known as home warranty insurance – is still required for residential renovations and building work with a contract price over $20,000.

What’s changed?

You now need to disclose the cost of the insurance cover in your home building or renovation contracts.

What do I do next?

You have until 1 July 2018 to prepare for this change. From 1 July non-compliance with this change may result in financial penalties.

We know many tradespeople use the NSW Fair Trading building contract template, so we’re updating it to make it easier for you to show the cost of any HBC cover required for the work. We will let you know when the new templates are available.

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority has created an online tool called HBC Check that enables anyone to check the validity of a HBC certificate. It contains the details of more than 460,000 projects dating back to 2010.


New plumbing and drainage inspection fee structure coming soon

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From 1 July 2018, NSW Fair Trading will implement a new fee structure for all plumbing and drainage audit inspections booked in the NSW Fair Trading area of operations.

A document describing how the new audit inspection fee structure will apply, including scenarios, can be downloaded from the NSW Fair Trading website (PDF size: 1.11 MB)


Stay up-to-date with industry news

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Did you know that we also have dedicated enewsletters for the plumbing and certification industries? You can subscribe to and access past editions of CertAlert and NewsFlush on the NSW Fair Trading and Building Professionals Board websites.