Changes to NSW home building legislation

The-NSW-government-has-made-change-to-home-building-legislation_157_6001703_0_14094555_300For those building or renovating a property, be aware that the NSW government has made some major changes to home building legislation.

The Home Building Amendment Act 2014 and the Home Building Regulation 2014 contain over 50 alterations, which will commence in two stages. Changes to licensing, owner-builders, home warranty insurance, and processes surrounding defects, warranties and disputes began on January 15, and March 1 will see changes to contracts.

Fair Trading of NSW says these new reforms will help to modernise industry practices, reduce the amount of red tape and protect and support consumers and building activity in NSW. NSW Minister for Fair Trading, Matthew Mason-Cox said the new laws are put in place to protect homeowners when they renovate, build or buy their home.

“It’s essential that consumers are protected from shoddy or incomplete work on their homes, and builders and tradespeople working in the industry are appropriately regulated,” Mr Mason-Cox said.

“The changes are part of the NSW Government’s plan to ensure NSW’s important building sector remains healthy and continues to grow, while making sure consumers remain appropriately protected.”

Among others, a major aspect of the January 15 laws is the new, broadened definition of ‘defect’, which now includes fire safety and waterproofing. The Master Builders Association of NSW said this will provide clarity and avoid unnecessary litigation for defective work, and provide consumers with access to the six-year warranty period for work that is considered a ‘major defect’. Issues that don’t meet the ‘major defect test’ will only be covered by the standard two-year warranty.

Similarly, builders and traders face up to a year in prison for repeated unlicensed contracting work. The reforms have also raised the licensing threshold requirements for building and trades from $1000 to $5000 worth of work.

The March 1 changes will allow for the earlier changes to be reflected in contract agreement and documents. Mr Mason-Cox said the new laws intend to strike a balance between supporting the building industry and protecting consumers from dishonest or poor practices.

If you intend to renovate your property but are unsure about how the new laws will affect you, have a discussion with your real estate agent or property manager. They will be able to give you a clearer idea whether the changes will have any impact on your plans.

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