Government review cracks down on unlicensed building inspectors

By Jarrod
3 Min Read

One Australian state is looking to tighten up building regulations in a mission to crack down on dodgy deals and protect homeowners and builders from going bust. 

During this month’s roundtable meeting, South Australia’s Premier, Andrea Michaels, called on the government to reform the state’s longstanding building laws and increase protections for people undertaking building work. 

The move—the first of its kind in the state in more than two decades—seeks to address ongoing concerns in the sector about shoddy workmanship, including cases of unlicensed inspectors dishing out dodgy reports.

While builders and tradies are legally required to be licensed before the project begins, inspectors who come on-site to check properties don’t need to be registered in SA. 

Will Frogley, Chief Executive of Master Builders SA, said that it was important the review allowed Aussies to have a “good experience” when building a home they love. 

“Building or renovating a home is the biggest investment many people will make in their lives,” he said. 

“It’s important this review leads to changes which better protect consumers from the very small minority of builders and tradies who do the wrong thing, without over burdening the thousands of brilliant businesses across SA with too much regulation.”

The review would see consumers receive an easier dispute resolution process, which Minister Michaels claims would cut costs for all parties, and clauses that protect prospective homeowners from being exploited by “sunset provisions” in contracts.

A Sunset Clause is part of a contract (sale and purchase agreement) that allows the builder to cancel the contract if the property isn’t completed by a certain date, a timeframe that the builders themselves usually decide. 

Minister Michaels said the review would consider whether sanctions would be placed on developers who failed to fulfil their obligations and if tougher penalties were needed to deter builders from breaching contracts. 

Under the new regulations, builders electricians and plumbers would also likely receive mandatory Continuing Professional Development Schemes to keep their skills in line with industry standards. 

“This review will ultimately deliver reforms that keep tradespeople at the top of their game and ensure that consumers have confidence in the industry,” added Michaels. 

“South Australians rely on builders and tradies, whether it be for minor installations or repairs through to significant renovations and major building projects like building a new home.

“It’s crucial that strong protections are in place to protect people when they are making these significant investments.”

 Housing Industry Australia Regional Executive Director Stephen Knight welcomed the promise of a much-needed regulation overhaul in the face of Australia’s dire housing crisis. 

“Consideration of housing availability and affordability issues should be at the forefront of any proposed new regulations,” said Knight.

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By Jarrod
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.