Builders will face mandatory testing from this week as part of Government measures to improve building standards in the ACT.
Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay said the requirement for mandatory exams for Class A, B and C builders will commence this week and this would extend to builders renewing across the classes in the coming months.
He said the exams were part of the building regulatory system reforms that have been delivered since 2013 following the review of the ACT building system.
“Any applicant who is refused a licence for failing the exam won’t be eligible to reapply again for six months, if they are refused a second time the period extends to 12 months, and if they are refused a third time they won’t be eligible for another two years,” he said.
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The reform program will continue in coming months with measures to raise the professionalism and standard of practice in the building industry, provide strong enforcement and to provide information to the community so people are aware of their rights and obligations when buying or renovating a property.
The reforms around construction licensing being delivered include:
- Grounds for the Registrar to refuse or condition a licence
- New powers to require licensees to undertake skills assessment and direct licensees to undertake training
- New offences and penalties for failing to comply with the Building Act, building code and with a rectification order
- Creation of a public register of information about licensees
- Improved information gathering powers for investigators.
Mr Ramsay said that in the first half of this year the Government would deliver:
- codes of practice for builders and building surveyors to improve supervision and consistency in stage inspections during construction
- new documentation guidelines for people preparing building approval applications
- education and training courses for practitioners on the ACT building regulatory system; and
- enhanced information for the community including through an online portal.
“In addition to the reform agenda, we have also improved the way that compliance is monitored to make sure that poor quality work is addressed quickly, and I’m delighted to see this approach is already working,” Mr Ramsay said.
“In 2018 Access Canberra established a Rapid Regulatory Response Team which sees government building inspectors attend the sites of complaints usually within five days and taking action or advising of outcomes quickly and effectively.
“This action is being felt across the industry, and coupled with the reform agenda, the message is clearly getting through that the government is serious about eliminating poor quality building work.”
Master Builders ACT has welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement.
Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said the MBA had been calling for reforms to the ACT’s building regulatory system for more than a decade.
“New license exams will mean that people applying for a building license will be required to meet increased minimum standards – and that is a good thing,” Mr Hopkins said.
“When a licence holder is selected to sit the exam at license renewal, it is important for this to be used to target repeat offenders or those with a track record of poor building quality and not apply more cost and uncertainty for the many good quality builders that are operating in the ACT. After all, these measures are about improving the overall standard of the industry, not punishing those already delivering high quality.”
Mr Hopkins urged the Minister to fully implement recommendations 1 to 4 of the Building Confidence Report prepared for the Building Ministers Forum, which calls on regulators to require the registration of a broad range of building practitioners including engineers, designers, builders and site or project managers and that compulsory Continuing Professional Development training be mandated for license holders.
“The MBA looks forward to working with the Government to implement the full suite of reforms required to make the ACT’s building regulatory system Australia’s best,” he said.