PLAN: Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni has floated a raft of changes, including certification exemptions, to try and avoid a pending crisis in the construction industry.
PLAN: Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni has floated a raft of changes, including certification exemptions, to try and avoid a pending crisis in the construction industry. Warren Lynam

EXCLUSIVE: Lifeline cast in construction industry crisis

EXCLUSIVE

Thousands of construction workers facing uncertain futures over a looming certification crisis have been offered a reprieve, with exemptions set to keep the industry alive.

State Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni's proposals are set to hand a lifeline to the industry, enabling 400 licensed certifiers across the state to continue working.

It's understood the proposed new laws will allow licensed Queensland certifiers to hold professional indemnity insurance with cladding-related exclusions, as part of a two-pronged approach which will also introduce tough cladding laws.

The amendments will be subject to a statutory review in May, 2021, and it's understood the Queensland Building and Construction Commission will advise building practitioners to tell insurers if they'd been involved in a project that used cladding, to ensure insurers meet their liabilities.

Mr de Brenni said the proposals were designed to ensure job growth didn't slow and construction industry practitioners remained in the field.

"We've already seen insurers attempting to cut and run from the market by withdrawing their insurance products and that means they escape their obligations, and that's not on," he said.

 

PLAN: Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni.
PLAN: Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni. Patrick Woods

A PwC report had been provided to the Ministerial Construction Council, which was set to meet with Mr de Brenni on Tuesday, where he would seek industry support for the proposals.

Mr de Brenni said the changes would ensure homeowners remained protected, while providing the industry with time to formulate a longer-term solution.

"It means that as of today, the 400 licensed certifiers in Queensland will continue to be able to work tomorrow, and that means our record on job creation will continue, however subject to stringent conditions," Mr de Brenni said.

"We won't go down this path without also introducing the most effective laws in the nation around the use of cladding."

Cladding loopholes will be closed and high-risk aluminium-composite cladding will also be banned on all multi-storey buildings as part of the proposed new laws.

Mr de Brenni said they would also pursue a national ban on the importation of "dodgy cladding" as part of a suite of longer-term reforms.

Fisher MP and ex-builder Andrew Wallace had demanded the State Government take action by Monday to ensure the industry avoided a crisis.



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