Part 6 of the Home Building Act 1989 sets out the requirements in relation to insurance under the home building compensation scheme. icare home building compensation fund (hbcf) is required to comply with Insurance Guidelines established by SIRA under this Act.
NSW Fair Trading is responsible for the administration of the other Parts of the Home Building Act including contracts, licensing and dispute resolution.
Where grounds for a claim under a policy issued by icare hbcf are not yet established (for example, the builder has not died, disappeared or become insolvent) homeowners can access a dispute resolution service provided by NSW Fair Trading.
In some cases (for example, where the builder refuses to rectify defects) NSW Fair Trading may recommend that the homeowner refer the dispute to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or a court.
If the builder fails to comply with a money order of the Tribunal or court, then NSW Fair Trading will suspend the builder’s licence and the homeowner may lodge a claim under their hbc cover.
If a homeowner believes their builder has disappeared, they should lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. If NSW Fair Trading is unable to locate the builder it will provide a letter to the homeowner in order to facilitate the lodging of a claim under the policy with icare hbcf.
Where a builder does not provide the homeowner with an hbcf certificate of insurance (or evidence of cover from another hbc provider) for their job (before starting work and/or receiving any payment, including a deposit, under the building contract) they may be in breach of the Home Building Act.
The homeowner should notify NSW Fair Trading as soon as possible. In some instances the builder may be able to apply and obtain retrospective hbcf cover for the work.
When to involve NSW Fair Trading
If you are unable to resolve a dispute with your builder or tradesperson, NSW Fair Trading may be able to assist.
It deals with building-related disputes about:
- incomplete or defective residential building work
- damage caused to other structures as a result of residential building work being done
- specialist work (i.e. electrical wiring, plumbing, gasfitting or air conditioning / refrigeration), including in non-residential buildings.
Learn more at NSW Fair Trading.