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The purpose of the Bill is to address safety risks associated with the use of non-conforming building products. The Bill is in response to the tragedies of the Lacrosse fire in Victoria and the Grenfell Tower fire in London.
This Bill is one in a series of steps proposed to be implemented. The primary driver of the proposed legislative reform is the use and risks associated with aluminium composite façade panels.
When the Bill takes effect
On 23 November 2017, the Bill was passed. The Bill is awaiting Royal Assent which is likely to occur soon.
Importantly, the power to make a building rectification order extends to banned building products used in buildings before the commencement of the Bill. This means that all buildings in NSW will be susceptible to building rectification orders, regardless of when they were constructed.
What you need to know
In summary, the Bill:
What is an “unsafe building product”
The definition of “unsafe building product” is general, wide reaching and gives Fair Trading a high degree of discretion. The Bill states:
“the use of a building product in a building is unsafe if there is a safety risk posed by the use of the building product in the building”
“there is a safety risk posed by the use of a building product in a building if any occupants of the building are or will likely be at risk of death or serious injury arising from the use of the building product in the building.”
The Bill sets out a process that Fair Trading must follow to include a building product on the “banned” list. This includes consultation with manufacturers and a public submission process. Presently, there are no building products on the “banned” list.
Fair Trading powers
Under the Bill, Fair Trading will have power to:
Exceptions – product undertakings
A person may submit a written undertaking where they have contravened or are likely to contravene a building product use ban. If Fair Trading accept the undertaking it will prevent Fair Trading from commencing proceedings for the contravention of the Bill identified in the undertaking.
The giving of this undertaking does not constitute an admission of guilt by the person giving it in relation to the contravention, suspected contravention or likely contravention to which the undertaking relates.
Amendment to other legislation
There have been a series of other legislative reform in NSW which flow from the Bill. Some of those include:
Madison Marcus Law Firm produced this article. It is intended to provide general information in summary form on legal topics, current at the time of first publication. The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular matters.