New Home Building Laws To Start

Baulkham Hills State Liberal MP David Elliott has welcomed the announcement that new
laws to protect home owners as they renovate, build or buy their home will start on 15 January 2015.

“The NSW Government has delivered a number of major reforms to modernise industry practices and strengthen consumer protection,” Mr Elliott said.

“The changes to the Home Building Act will reduce red tape to support the home building sector and building activity, as well as clarify legislative requirements to help ensure there are fewer disputes between homeowners and builders.”

Mr Elliott said an important piece of new the Home Building reforms was the new ‘major defect’ definition, which came after extensive consultation.

“For the first time, the law recognises fire safety and waterproofing issues as major  elements in a building’s structure,” Mr Elliott said.

“By including fire safety systems and waterproofing as major elements of the building, the new definition broadens the scope of what may be considered a ‘major defect,’ and provides access to the six year warranty period, offering consumers greater protection from poor workmanship.

“New laws also clearly define statutory warranties to avoid costly litigation over defective work.  The warranty period for major defects in buildings continues to be six years and two years for all defects.

“Legal clarity saves owners and owners’ corporations tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs fighting litigation.”

As part of the changes, NSW Fair Trading will have improved powers to crack down on illegal ‘phoenixing,’ where a building company collapses and starts up again under a new name to avoid debts and scrutiny by the regulator.

Changes to the licensing system will allow NSW Fair Trading to refuse a licence application or revoke a licence if a builder has a history or involvement in a failed company or an unreasonable number of complaints or disciplinary matters against them.

“This change will help keep phoenix companies and dodgy builders out of the market,” Mr Elliott said.

The review has included detailed consultation with key industry stakeholders, the publication of an Issues Paper and Position Paper, industry round table meetings and
meetings with stakeholders.

A number of changes start on 15 January 2015. Some parts of the Act  that require changes to contract requirements come into effect on 1 March 2015, giving builders and industry time to make the transition to new requirements.

For more information on the new Home Building Act laws and the key dates, visit the NSW Fair Trading website:

Consumer can also contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.