The last part of the three-part ABC TV Canberra expose on building defects focused on the “ineffectiveness” of the ACT Government building regulator, ACTPLA.
In short, Cecelia Wood bought a townhouse (ie a class B unit) in Tuggeranong which did not meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia. Ms Wood lodged a complaint with ACTPLA which duly then issued a rectification order.
The builder ignored the rectification order and ACTPLA then purported to have another licensee complete the rectification work (as it is able under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act) but stopped this process when it realised it could not afford to have the work carried out.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time ACTPLA has failed to go through with this process due to financial constraints within the ACT Government.
It all reminds me very much of that episode of the Simpsons, The Homer They Fall, where Homer Simpson fights Boxcar Bob who basically fights to a standstill. Homer Simpson, having taken all this punishment, simply then nudges Boxcar Bob over and wins the fight. See transcript below:
[Bell Rings] [Crowd Cheering] Way to go, Dad! Take those punches.
Man, that tramp’s got the energy of a hobo.
Yeah, he never stops punching, except to check out his bindle.
[Man] He’s not fallin’ down at all.
[Crowd Cheering, Chattering] – [Cheering, Chattering Stops] – [Grunts] Okay, Homer, he’s tired! He’s tired!
Now’s your chance! Nudge him! Nudge him! [Crowd Cheers].
Well, ACTPLA have decided that enough is enough and on 6 March 2014, the ACT Government passed the Construction and Energy Efficiency Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2).
The two highlights of this amendment are:
- the maximum penalties for a builder who does not comply with the Building Code of Australia have been increased up to $70,000 for individuals and $350,000 for companies or 5 years imprisonment or both; and
- non-compliance with a rectification order now has maximum penalties of $280,000 for an individual and $1,400,000 for a corporation (up from $28,000 and $140,000, respectively).
So, it looks like the ACT Government are not going to take this crap lying down and will fine non-complying builders into submission.
It’s a start but more needs to be done.