Wallace calls for immediate action to prevent construction industry collapse
From 17 June 2019
The construction industry in Queensland will grind to a halt in a matter of weeks, leaving builders and vulnerable subbies facing financial ruin, unless urgent action is taken by the Queensland Government said Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace today. Mr Wallace called on Queensland Labor Housing & Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni to act immediately to avert this crisis before the 2 July deadline.
“Every construction project built in Queensland must by law be signed off by a building certifier. Without certification, owners cannot occupy their buildings and builders, and their sub-contractors and suppliers cannot be paid. Most assessments are completed by a private building certifier. Without long overdue action by the Queensland Government, within weeks those certifiers will begin losing their licences one by one through no fault of their own.” Mr Wallace said.
To acquire and renew their licences, private certifiers must by Queensland law have a professional indemnity (PI) insurance policy without exclusions. However, since the discovery that a number of mostly high-rise buildings in Australia were constructed using similar flammable cladding that was a major factor in the UK’s Grenfell Tower fire, insurers have begun refusing to offer these policies. Today there is just one insurer left in the market. This insurer, BRIC, recently announced that from 2 July 2019 they too will withdraw, leaving no compliant policies available to certifiers.
“No certifiers means no new buildings, and no payment for builders, suppliers and mum and dad subbies.” he said.
Around 80 building certifiers’ insurance policies are up for renewal by the end of June while a further 180 will be gone by the end of July. Without action, within a year there will be none remaining.
Mr Wallace, who was a builder himself for ten years and was commissioned by the Queensland Government in 2014 to conduct a review into building certification, said that the majority of certifiers work exclusively on houses, extensions or sheds where combustible cladding is not used. He called for action to allow exemptions for building cladding to be included in certifiers’ PI insurance policies so that insurers can offer the necessary policies without risk of excessive liability caused by combustible cladding.
“The Queensland State Labor Government have known about this issue for more than a year and they have done absolutely nothing to avoid it. Now they must act and change the rules so that building certifiers’ insurance can include exemptions for building cladding and non-compliant building materials.” he said.
“Time is up. Queensland builders and subbies cannot wait another day. Minister de Brenni is the only person who can avert this disaster. I call on the Minister to stop waiting for someone else to solve this problem for him and take action right now to enable insurers back into the market before the building industry is stopped in its tracks.”