Canberra builders to undergo tests, poor performers to be targeted


April 15, 2018 17:02:04

Problem builders will be forced to undergo skill and technical knowledge tests under a stricter ACT licensing regime being introduced next year.

Up to 180 builders across all licence types — from houses to high-rise construction — will be tested each year when applying for a renewal.

The Regulatory Services Minister, Gordon Ramsay, said the testing would be targeted at those with known links to poor construction.

“People who have a substantiated complaint against them … people who have question marks over their licence or their skillset,” Mr Ramsay said.

“In addition to that there’ll be a randomised element across the licences as well.”

The move comes in the wake of an ABC investigation which revealed an alleged $20 million worth of defects at one complex in Bruce.

“It’s an emotionally significant investment, it impacts on people’s lives, people deserve to have confidence,” Mr Ramsay said.

“If people are not building at sufficient quality … then we don’t want them in the industry here.”

The pass rate for the test is set at 80 per cent and licence renewal will not be granted to those who fail after two attempts.

Tests have already been introduced for class C licence applicants, who are able to build up to two storeys.

Almost half of those failed on their first attempt and just under 45 per cent failed on the second.

“We want to make sure that people who don’t have the skillset, who don’t have the knowledge, are not entering the industry,” Mr Ramsay said.

Along with targeted tests at the point of renewal, all new licence applicants will undergo the skill and technical assessment.

The Construction Occupations Registrar, which manages licensing, will also be able to make any builder sit the test when the registrar believes grounds for discipline exist.

Mr Ramsay flagged more changes to come for the industry, including increased documentation requirements for building certifiers signing off on construction.

The Government has also vowed to implement codes of practice, new training courses and an auditing system for building approvals and projects.

The changes come just days after the Legislative Assembly launched a wide-ranging inquiry into building quality in the ACT.

That inquiry will accept submissions from the public until early July.







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