The inquiry into the operations of the NSW Home Building Service (HBS) has come up with a raft of recommendations, while one of the committee has delivered a dissenting report critical of the whole process.
The role of the HBS in the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to protect consumers by regulating the home building industry. It is responsible for licensing builders, investigating building complaints, resolving disputes and administering the home warranty insurance scheme.
The inquiry found that consumer protection for home builders and renovators in NSW needs to be improved. NSW Fair Trading Minister, Linda Burney, says the need and objectives of the inquiry were always questionable – given the numerous inquiries conducted in the past into home building – she would consider the recommendations. Burney also says that the while there were many tragic stories of home building projects gone wrong, the majority dated prior to the establishment of the HBS in 2003.
However, NSW Greens MP, Sylvia Hale delivered a dissenting report calling for the current NSW scheme to be scrapped and replaced with a new scheme owned and operated by the state government and based on the successful Queensland model. “Queensland has a government-run, first resort scheme. If a consumer’s complaint to the Queensland Building Services Authority is upheld, the QBSA arranges for the rectification and completion of building works for homeowners. It, and not the consumer, then pursues the shonky builder,” she says.
The full report is available for download here.