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21 Jan 2020

NSW Government Proposes Ratings Scorecard For Builders To Prevent Construction Disasters

NSW Government Proposes Ratings Scorecard For Builders To Prevent Construction Disasters
The Opal Tower saga has sparked questions about the building industry.

The NSW Government wants to introduce a range of measures to clamp down on dodgy developers and prevent a repeat of the Opal and Mascot towers cracking crises. The Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, is proposing several reforms designed to revive faith in the building industry.

"There is a real lack of confidence in the NSW construction industry," he said.

"We're seeing people second-guess themselves when they do go to look at buying off the plan — they want to have confidence."

He wants to introduce a risk rating system for builders, certifiers, and developers that would score them on the quality of their previous projects to weed out the dodgy operators. As well as the ability to rate the projects safety and workplace well-being out of factors of 10. 

"At present... there is really nothing that sets anyone apart when you're either doing a good job or a bad job," he said. 

"What we want to be able to do is set up a system to weed out those who do the wrong thing — those who cut corners, those who cut costs, those who sign contracts and then screw the contractors down whether it be on price or on quality."

Under the proposed reforms, the state's Building Commissioner, David Chandler, would be able to examine any operator found to have a dodgy rating and would have the power to block a building's occupation certificate if the project is deemed potentially dangerous when working.

Without an occupation certificate, a building cannot be occupied and a developer would be forced to refund deposits. Labor's spokeswoman for building reform, Yasmin Catley, said the proposed regulations do not go far enough.

"The bill looks to beef up enforcement, which of course is important, but that is not going to fix the problem,  You need compliance, boots on the ground checking that critical building milestones have been built well. It is a shame that all the Government can bring to the table is a mechanism to rank builders."

The proposed reforms would require the NSW Parliament to pass the Government's Design and Building Practitioners Bill, which is currently being held up in the Upper House.