Housing Minister to dodgy builders: We are coming for you
QUEENSLAND Housing Minister Tim Mander says the proposed overhaul of the building regulator is sending a crystal clear warning to dodgy builders: we are coming for you.
Following an inquiry into the former Building Services Authority (BSA) in 2012, 32 recommendations were put before Mr Mander that were then summarised into a 10-point action plan.
"The first and main thing we did was replace the BSA with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) and we got a new commissioner to head up the regulator," he said.
Proposed amendments were introduced to parliament last week, with special attention being paid to ensure the dispute resolution process between builders and consumers was far more timely and effective than it had been previously under the BSA.
Mr Mander said this would allow the QBCC to mediate disputes within 28 days of them being lodged.
"The building regulator couldn't be involved (in disputes) if it had been referred to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or couldn't be involved unless the contract was finalised," Mr Mander said.
Now, under the proposed amendments, Mr Mander said disputes could not go through QCAT unless they had first gone through the QBCC dispute resolution process.
"If you're not happy with that, you can then go to QCAT," he said.
"That will hopefully reduce a lot of angst on both sides."
Mr Mander said the amendments would allow the building regulator to "go in hard" on dodgy builders.
"We have given far more investigative power to the QBCC so they can identify who these dodgy builders are," he said.
"For those that are licensed, we are giving the QBCC more teeth, so we are overhauling the demerit system."
Mr Mander said there had been an argument previously that the weight of the demerit points had not been strong enough.
"We are now making it a disciplinary offence for a builder who doesn't pay their subcontractors," he said.
"There's really been no offence for that in the past."
Mr Mander said these tough changes were to ensure reputable builders were also protected.
"You're protecting consumers but you're also protecting those builders with a good reputation and who do the right thing," he said.
"It's sending a very clear signal to dodgy builders that we are coming after you."
It is expected the amendments will be debated in parliament late October or early November.