Blog - Spotlight on building: Builder's licensing and insurance.

So you have decided to embark on your next building project. Great news! One of the first things you’ll need to do is select a builder. With so many builders and trades people out there – the task can be difficult.  

Understanding builder’s licences

When selecting a builder, most people think about price and availability. It’s also important however, to check their licensing and track record too. Thankfully there’s an easy way to do this.

Thanks to the NSW government, home owners can rest assured their builder is who they say they are by simply logging on to the New South Wales (NSW) government licence check web site.

This site allows you to search by name or licence number and will return a summary of the licence immediately, as well as showing if the licence is current or out of date. Click on the licensee name for a full rundown of:

  • The builder’s credentials
  • Whether or not they have had their licence revoked previously
  • Cancellations and suspensions
  • Tribunal orders
  • Prosecutions
  • Infringement notices and more  

What’s covered by a builder’s licence

Every builder in NSW is required to be licensed in order to undertake home building works. As well as this, as of February 2012, they must provide Home Owners Warrantee Insurance for any project in excess of $20,000.

This insurance is intended to protect the home owner against the builder failing to undertake any of the following basic building requirements, which are identified as warrantees within the NSW Building legislation:

(a) A warranty that the work will be performed in a proper and workmanlike manner and in accordance with the plans and specifications set out in the contract,

(b) A warranty that all materials supplied by the holder or person will be good and suitable for the purpose for which they are used and that, unless otherwise stated in the contract, those materials will be new,

(c) A warranty that the work will be done in accordance with, and will comply with, NSW Building Act and any other law,

(d) A warranty that the work will be done with due diligence and within the time stipulated in the contract, or if no time is stipulated, within a reasonable time,

(e) A warranty that, if the work consists of the construction of a dwelling, or the repairing, renovation, decoration or protective treatment of a dwelling, the work will result, to the extent of the work conducted, in a dwelling that is reasonably fit for occupation as a dwelling

What to do if things go wrong

If a builder does not perform appropriately with respect to these warrantees the home owner can elect to notify the NSW CTTT, and lodge a complaint.

Any complaints against a builder are listed against the builders’ licence number on the licence check website, along with any pending hearings, orders and fines.

So before you employ a builder it’s wise to ask for details of his building licence and check the previous history online.

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