NSW Parliamentary inquiry starts

In early July, the NSW Parliament commenced an inquiry into the “Regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes”.

SCA (NSW) made a submission outlining the state of the strata sector from the viewpoint of both those living and working in the sector.

In the submission SCA (NSW) highlights that, “There is a strong case for retrospective legislation to deal with builders and suppliers who have shut down companies and started new ones to avoid their responsibilities.”

At the end of the submission a seven-point plan is presented which, if adopted, will go a long way to restoring confidence and dealing with the worst impacts of past failures:

    1. Reintroduction of a robust and accessible Home Owners Warranty Insurance scheme for all levels of strata development, removing the current four-story exclusion.
    2. Increasing the two-year statutory warranty period to at least three years.
    3. Along the lines of the precedent now established in Victoria, provide an assistance package for cladding and structurally affected schemes. This may include a combination of subsidised loans, rate/taxation relief and other financial assistance.
    4. Legislate within the regulatory framework for builders, developers, designers, and certifiers a clear duty of care to owners and owners corporations.
    5. Legislate a statutory chain of responsibility through the entire design and construction cycle.
    6. Introduce mandatory supervision of private certification.
    7. Introduce a record of occupation certificates accessible to owners’ corporations that is separate from the Office of Fair Trading. This will avoid any conflict of interest with its regulatory functions and enforcement of compliance, licensing and administration of home building compensation fund.

SCA (NSW) was given the opportunity to present in person at the inquiry before the Public Accountability Committee, which is Chaired by the Hon David Shoebridge, MLC, and includes a former Minister for Fair Trading (as it was then), the Hon Matthew Mason-Cox, MLC.

The first day of public hearings was 12 August 2019 with SCA (NSW) invited to appear on Friday, 16 August. A copy of the transcript from the hearing will be made available as soon as it’s been provided by Parliament.

Information about the inquiry, including the Terms of Reference, is available here. Check the website for details.