The Building Legislation Review was proposed as a ‘comprehensive consultation process. And it has been! A small committee of CAWA members compiled CAWA’s response to the 115 question in the Home Building Contracts (HBC) Act and then the 207 questions in the Issues Paper put together by DOCEP about the Builders’ Registration Act (BRA). And they have just finished the sixty plus questions pertaining to the Painters’ Registration Act.
This has been a marathon task and it raises a number of issues re the value of many of the questions posed. CAWA has participated in two previous reviews; in 1997 on the Building Disputes Resolution Process Review panel and in 1998 on the Building Legislation Changes Implementation Panel and is aware that many of the issues have already been weighed up in recent times, and some are put forward by small interest groups.
Generally, CAWA members found many questions re the BRA Review overlapped with those already posed in the Review of the HomeBuilding Contracts Act. CAWA was also concerned that a considerable number of questions raised were not supported by the relevant background information required to give an informed opinion.
There was also at times an underlying premise that the regulation of the WA Building Industry is in need of radical change, a view that is countered by page 57 of the BRA Issues Paper which states,
‘The criteria for registration/licensing of a builder in Western Australian is often said to be the most stringent of all the States. That stringency is reflected in the generally high quality of construction that is achieved in this State.’
The CAWA members involved in the review firmly believe that changes should only be implemented if they are going to bring about significant benefits to the industry and consumers. For example, it is difficult to understand how industry and consumers will benefit from the incorporation of the Board into DOCEP, based on the model of the Finance Brokers’ Board. The old adage, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ needs to be applied.