Amendments to the home building Act in NSW will now affect you

Changes now in force

Last week, on 15 January 2015, the Home Building Amendment Act 2014 (NSW) (The Act) was proclaimed, which means the extensive amendments to the laws that govern residential building in NSW have now taken effect (summarised in our previous e-brief here).

What are the main issues you should familiarise yourself with?

The Act makes a raft of changes to laws affecting contractors who undertake residential building work in NSW including;

  • Changes to the statutory warranty scheme that now classify building defects as being either ‘major’ or ‘minor’, having the effect of varying the period a particular defect claim can be made by an owner.
  • Providing more protection, in certain circumstances, to contractors who have relied on expert advice and also extending the liability of sub-contractors.
  • Safeguarding against home warranty insurance fraud, as a result of the establishment of a public register of insurance certificates.
  • More prescriptive requirements for contractors obtaining deposits and making progress claims under a building contract.
  • Increased penalties for builders who employ unlicensed sub-contractors.
  • A requirement that all residential building contracts entered into, include a specific checklist for owners, the contents of which are specified in the Regulations.

For a more detailed summary of the amendments, see our e-brief here entitled “Recent changes to residential building laws in NSW that may affect you”

Now that the laws have changed, what should I do?

You need to be familiar with the Act when entering into any contracts for residential building work in NSW. If your contract does not comply with the new laws, you may be subject to significant penalties. This means if you are using a standard HIA or MBA contract, you need to ensure you are using versions that have been updated to reflect the changes.

Our Construction Team can explain how the amendments are likely to affect your business and ensure that your contracts are compliant.

For more information on how to ensure your building contracts are compliant contact:

Alisa Taylor — Partner — Construction Dispute Resolution Team
(02) 6279 4388
alisa.taylor@meyervandenberg.com.au

Rebecca Sostarko — Lawyer — Construction Dispute Resolution Team
(02) 6279 4403
rebecca.sostarko@meyervandenberg.com.au