Industry news

Changes to Home Building Act now in effect - 31 Aug, 2020

The Home Building Act 1989 regulates the residential building industry and certain specialist work in New South Wales. It addresses any residential works carried out by contractors and tradespersons, including construction of a new home and renovations or alterations to an existing home or structure. The Home Building Act 1989 exists to protect homeowners during the complex building process. It lays out their minimum statutory rights, as well as their builders and contractors’. This includes matters such as deposits, insurances, payments, and warranties.


On 1 July 2020 changes to the Act were introduced that aim to promote public confidence in the residential building industry. These changes will become enforceable on 31 December 2020, however in the meantime contractors are still expected to comply with the support of NSW Fair Trading.



Changes to the Act


The changes that have come into effect ensure transparency over the building process, and more specifically that homeowners have complete freedom of choice when selecting their certifier. They apply to any contract valued at over $5,000, except for change ‘4’ that only applies to contracts valued at over $20,000.


1.      New offences for contractors who try to influence an applicant's choice of certifier

This includes disputing the applicant’s choice of registered certifier. Some examples include:

·         Specifying on a contract which certifiers can or can’t be used

·         Suggesting to alter contract price based on which certifier is or isn’t used

·         Refusing to perform contract duties based on which certifier is or isn’t used


2.      New requirement for contractors to give applicants information about certifiers

Prior to entering a contract, contractors must provide an information sheet that explains the role of registered certifiers. This sheet must be strictly provided as is, with the option for contractors to provide any other supporting information about certifiers.


3.      New text to be added to any contract for work that requires a certifier

If works outlined in a contract require a certifier, the following text must now be added:

1)      The contractor will notify the owner if a registered certifier is required with respect to particular work done under this contract

2)      The selection of a registered certifier is the sole responsibility of the owner (subject to section 6.6 (4A) or 6.12 (4A) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979)

3)      The contractor will not object to the selection by the owner of any particular registered certifier.

4.      New item added to the building contract checklist about choosing a certifier

An additional item has been added to the home building checklist which must be included in a contract.

 Item 12:    Do you understand that any registered certifier required to certify work under the contract is to be selected by you and the contractor cannot object to your selection?


More information


To learn more about the changes, visit the Fair Trading website.