How we care for homeowners

We provide a safety net for homeowners in the event of a licensed builder’s or contractor’s insolvency, death, disappearance or suspension. 

We provide a safety net for homeowners in the event of a builder’s or contractor’s insolvency, death, disappearance or licence suspension where the builder or contractor has failed to comply with a NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or Court money order obtained by the homeowner. 

icare hbcf assists homeowners with incomplete or defective residential building work where the builder or contractor is no longer able to meet their contractual obligations.

If you’ve engaged a builder or contractor who provided you with a Certificate of Insurance from us and who has become insolvent, disappeared, died, or had their licence suspended for failing to comply with a NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or Court money order made in your favour, you may be able to make a claim with us.

Before you start building

Before your builder or contractor starts any kind of residential building work valued at over $20,000 (or receives any payment under the building contract for that work, including a deposit), they must provide you with evidence of cover under the home building compensation (hbc) scheme (for example, icare hbcf issues Certificates of Insurance) specifically for your property.

Providing hbc cover to homeowners for residential projects valued over $20,000, (unless exempted under the Home Building Act 1989), is compulsory for all licensed builders and contractors.

As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have received the certificate prior to handing over a deposit, before builder or contractor starts any work under the contract. Homeowners without cover will be unable to make a claim if their builder or contractor become insolvent, disappeared, died or had their licence suspended due to non-complied money order by NCAT or Court.

An icare hbcf Certificate of Insurance should contain:

  • the names of the builder/contractor and homeowner
  • your property address (i.e. site address of the building work)
  • contract price
  • a brief description of the building work.

Make sure you know if you are contracting with an individual, partnership or company and check that the builder’s or contractor’s name shown on the certificate provided to you is exactly the same as that on the building contract and the licence issued by NSW Fair Trading.

If you are unsure as to the validity of a Certificate of Insurance you can check the publicly available online Certificates Register, containing all certificates issued by icare hbcf and any other providers.

Check your builder’s eligibility

We also issue Certificates of Eligibility to builders. This certificate sets out the types of construction and how much work a contractor or builder can take on.

Before builders and contractors undertaking residential building work for homeowners in NSW can apply to us for a Certificate of Insurance for a project, they must have a Certificate of Eligibility.

It’s important to note that a Certificate of Eligibility and a Certificate of Insurance are two different things. A Certificate of Eligibility from us means the builder or contractor has been assessed and approved by our Eligibility Risk Manager, Corporate Scorecard, and is able to apply to us for a Certificate of Insurance for a job they have contracted to do.

You can check whether your chosen builder or contractor has hbc scheme eligibility by checking the Public Register on the NSW Fair Trading Website.

You need to make sure your builder or contractor supplies you with evidence of the hbc cover which they have obtained for the project before paying a deposit and before any work is started. Please also check the details on the certificate such as your name, site address, builder name, contract sum etc. for accuracy. The online Certificates Register will also provide information about your job.

What you’re covered for

icare hbcf insurance gives you protection for losses arising from defective and incomplete work where the builder or contractor:

  • becomes insolvent
  • dies
  • disappears, or
  • has their building licence suspended due to non-compliance with a money order in your favour made by the NCAT or a Court. 

This cover can be claimed:

  1. for six years from the date of job completion for major defects
  2. for two years from the date of job completion for general defects
  3. for twelve months for losses resulting from incomplete works, running from the date of the cessation of the work or failure to commence.

The cover protects you and any subsequent purchasers of your home.

Warning signs

Warning signs include:

  • project delays without asking for an extension of time
  • going outside of the contract period
  • difficulties getting the builder on site
  • the builder demanding progress payments without finishing the work or outside of the contract
  • attempting to carry out defective work or work not agreed under the contract, etc.
  • asking you to pay subcontractors direct when that was not what was originally agreed.

Once you have notified of your possible claim, you need to take appropriate action to try to have the original builder or contractor complete and/or rectify the work, such as:

  • lodging a complaint with NSW Fair Trading
  • lodging a claim with NCAT or a Court (depending on value) to have the builder finish any incomplete or rectify any defective work

 Learn more about warning signs and the claims process

Making a claim

You may make a notification to hbcf at any time, but to make a claim there must have been a “trigger event”.

Trigger events are limited to where your builder or contractor either:

  • becomes insolvent
  • dies
  • disappears, or
  • has their building licence suspended due to non-compliance with a money order made by NCAT or a Court in your favour. 

We encourage you to make a claim as soon as you become aware of one of these trigger events (and to lodge a Loss Notification Form earlier than this). Failure to notify and claim in accordance with the policy may mean that your claim is not accepted.

Learn more about our claims process