More builder exams next step in ACT Government improving building quality

Released 22/02/2019

The ACT Government is continuing to drive improvement in building quality and is implementing actions that hold builders accountable for their work.

The Government recognises that as our city grows, we need to ensure that building work that is occurring around the city complies with both ACT and national building standards.

We have already put the building sector on notice about building quality. Having established a new Ministerial portfolio for Building Quality Improvement, the Government has been coordinating a suite of measures to improve standards and provide confidence to buyers.

Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay said the requirement for mandatory exams for Class A, B and C builders will commence next week.  This will be extended to target builders renewing across the classes in the coming months.

“The ACT Government has a clear plan in place to address building quality and in coming months through the reform program and on the ground regulation will drive building improvement in three key ways:

  • raising the professionalism and standard of practice in the building industry
  • providing strong enforcement in its regulation of the industry
  • providing information the community needs so they are aware of their rights and obligations when buying or renovating a property.

“The exams are part of the significant 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 2 years.

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.

We have already delivered 14 of the 43 key reforms; by the end of June this year it will be 28, followed by full implementation in the term of this Assembly,” said Minister Ramsay.

Our focus in the first half of 2019 will be making sure builders in Canberra meet the standard of practice the community would expect, which is why we are expanding the builder exams.

In the first half of this year we will also 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” Minister 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.”

To find out more on how the government is addressing building quality, please visit:

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases

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