Getting a certificate of eligibility is the first step towards being able to obtain insurance from icare HBCF for residential building work in NSW.
What is Eligibility?
Eligibility is the term used to describe the approval of a builder to apply for an HBC Certificate of Insurance (COI) for specific projects and under what conditions they can keep buying insurance from us. It follows a well-defined application and review process.
What is a Certificate of Eligibility?
When our Eligibility Assessment results in a successful outcome, we will issue a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and Builder Eligibility Assessment Report. The COE defines your Eligibility Profile.
Each Eligibility Profile includes the following conditions:
- open job limits (number and value)
- type(s) of construction requiring HBC insurance that you can undertake, and the associated maximum contract value limit.
You must have a COE before you can purchase HBC insurance. Please refer to the HBC Insurance Fact Sheet (PDF, 0.1MB) for information on HBC insurance.
The new eligibility assessment process
In July 2022, we changed the way most builders apply for eligibility, with a simplified assessment process that has reduced complexity, processing time and costs.
The process involves a streamlined credit assessment that cuts waiting times so builders receive a response within 48 hours.
Around 94 per cent of builders qualify for this assessment while the remaining builders will have greater underwriting focus and support for progressing through the current eligibility process.
Learn more about how we're improving the eligibility process or reach out to your distributor to find out what this means for you.
Who should apply for eligibility with icare HBCF
If you're a builder, speculative builder or trade contractor intending to undertake work requiring home building compensation insurance you need to have eligibility with icare HBCF before you can apply for a Certificate of Insurance for the project.
To avoid anxiety and pressure when dealing with homeowners, don't quote or commit to jobs before you have your Certificate of Eligibility.
How to apply for eligibility
All eligibility applications must be submitted by an approved broker distributor.
Your broker distributor will help you with your eligibility application and submit your application to us.
Find an approved broker distributor
By providing cover to builders, icare HBCF takes on the risk that a builder is unable or unwilling to complete the construction of a home (or other residential building project) or return to rectify defective work.
To manage this risk, builders must apply for eligibility before they can purchase a Certificate of Insurance. icare HBCF assesses the eligibility application and takes into account the following criteria:
- financial performance
- equity exposed to the building operations
- technical capability
- trading history.
Where builders are assessed as a "high risk", this may result in us declining the eligibility application or imposing special conditions on the eligibility.
Once we finalise the assessment, we provide approved builders with a Certificate of Eligibility and a Builder Eligibility Assessment Report which summarises the eligibility conditions.
HBCF Eligibility Manual (PDF, 1.0 MB)
Submit an Eligibility Application
Your Broker will help you to submit your Eligibility Application. If you qualify for our auto-assessment process, you only need to provide some basic information. More than 90 per cent of current HBCF builders qualify for auto-assessment.
Builders that don't qualify for auto-assessment must be manually assessed. Manually assessed builders are mostly those that may present a higher risk to the Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF), such as newer or larger builders. When we perform manual assessments, we usually require financial and non-financial information.
View the Eligibility Checklist for the automated assessment process
Most builders who apply to us qualify for our auto-assessment process. View the eligibility requirements in the Auto Assessment Eligibility Application Form (PDF, 0.2MB) to see what's required.
View the Eligibility Checklist for a manual assessment
To apply for eligibility through our manual assessment process, you’ll need to provide financial and non-financial information. For example:
- your completed Builder Eligibility/Profile Change Application form (PDF, 0.3MB)
- a recent balance sheet, profit and loss statement (for company and trust), or tax returns (for sole trader and partnership)
- a statement of personal assets and liabilities
- copies of rates notices for all properties declared on the statement of personal assets and liabilities
- refer to the check-list in the application form for any other required supporting documentation. This includes financial statements, likely number, type and value of potential projects and your contractor licence details.
We have created a new auto-assessment process to streamline applications for eligibility. This new process enables builders who qualify and meet assessment requirements, to receive their COE and purchase a COI within two business days.
Please refer to our Apply for eligibility webpage to see if you meet the auto-assessment requirements.
Standard assessment process
Depending on the size and complexity of the project and the building entity’s history, the standard Eligibility Assessment process takes up to 30 business days. The sooner you can provide your broker with the required documentation, the sooner you will get your COE.
Your eligibility profile will include the following conditions:
- open job limits (number and value)
- types of construction and maximum contract price.
Your eligibility profile may also include the following relevant conditions:
- you may need to maintain or increase capital levels
- we may ask you to provide specified levels of security
- we may ask you to change the frequency of your financial reporting
- you may need to access a Building Contract Review Program (BCRP) service provider
- if and when appropriate, we may occasionally have other requirements.
We grant eligibility for up to three years, depending on the type, number, and value of your projects. The COE clearly states the expiry date.
If we become aware of problems with building projects or your business that may indicate a major risk, we may schedule a Special Eligibility Review (SER) at any time.
We will always provide you with advanced notice of any upcoming review, so you and your broker have time to prepare. If we determine to reduce your eligibility, we will give you notice of that as well.
Building contract review program
icare HBCF manages the Building Contract Review Program (BCRP) and outsources it to authorised service providers.
Participating in the BCRP program can be a condition of your eligibility with us.
The BCRP program aims to assist new entrants to the building industry, as well as existing builders without demonstrated experience for proposed projects.
Builders participating in the BCRP can obtain mentored project management experience.
- HBCF Eligibility Manual 2 MB(pdf)
- HBCF Eligibility Manual Construction Types Addendum 0.28 MB(pdf)
- HBC Insurance Fact Sheet 0.06 MB(pdf)
- HBCF Eligibility Fact Sheet 0.27 MB(pdf)
- HBCF Builders Guide to Eligibility 0.38 MB(pdf)
- Structural Versus Non-Structural Construction Type classifications for HBCF 0.09 MB(pdf)