Home Warranty Scheme review to consider rating system for builders

Published Thursday, 31 March, 2022 at 09:00 AM

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

Queenslanders have been invited to help strengthen the Home Warranty Scheme by joining a wide-ranging review of consumer protections across the state’s home construction sector.

Minister for Public Works Mick de Brenni said the release of a discussion paper detailing options to enhance the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme was a great opportunity for Queenslanders to have their say on how the Scheme could be improved further.

“A home is one of the biggest investments Queenslanders will make and they deserve to be protected from the impacts of incomplete and defective works,” said Mr de Brenni.

“What this process recognises is that the homes Queenslanders are building and buying is changing, with more apartments and townhouses.

“We are also seeking feedback on a framework that reduces costs for home owners and rewards high quality builders through a star rating system, aligned to potential scheme premium reductions.

“This discussion paper outlines an extensive range of options, including those raised through our ongoing discussions with stakeholders as well as last year’s online public survey, which received over 300 responses.

“What we’ve heard so far is that Queenslanders expect the Scheme to cater for the range of work and risk, and reflect market demand and requirements.”

The review is investigating six key areas of proposed reform:

·         Comprehensive, contemporary insurance coverage

·         Affordable risk-based premiums

·         Adequate and flexible compensation limits

·         Effective and efficient processes and time limits

·         Empowered consumers

·         A modern and responsive scheme.

“The options for change include extending the Scheme to cover high-rise apartments and off-site construction of prefabricated homes, as well as introducing optional cover for certain types of building work,” said Mr de Brenni.

“We will also be looking at whether there is a need for greater flexibility in coverage for works such as painting, as well as the introduction of higher thresholds for certain types of work.

“In fact, there are a wide range of options for improvement to the Scheme, and I encourage everyone to have their say.”

Mr de Brenni said the next steps will include in-person information sessions in Townsville, Brisbane South and the Sunshine Coast as well as online webinars, focused teleconferences and the opportunity to provide written responses.

A subcommittee led by the Department of Energy and Public Works and including members of the Ministerial Construction Council will report back to the Ministerial Construction Council with advice and recommendations later this year.

Mr de Brenni said this latest review builds on the Queensland Government’s previous round of Scheme amendments in 2016 and responds to a commitment in the Queensland Building Plan Update 2021 to strengthen the Scheme.

“The 2016 changes provided further protection for consumers in the event a building contractor fails to complete residential construction work or fails to rectify defects in that work,” he said.

“They included expanded coverage to include residential pools not related to construction of a building, cover for additional work undertaken within the ‘building envelope’, as well as options to obtain additional cover.

“It’s now important we consider options to further enhance the Scheme and ensure it is known for certainty, equity, fairness and transparency.”

Consultation on the discussion paper opens on 31 March 2022 and continues until 6 May 2022.

Further information can be found at: www.qld.gov.au/HomeWarrantyScheme.