The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has made it clear that they are not responsible for building product regulation in Australia and that concerns about non-compliant products in this sector should be directed at specialist regulators.
In an address to Master Builders Australia on 22 July, ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said that while the ACCC are engaging with building regulators to encourage safety-based procurement practices in the building product sector, it is not in their jurisdiction to regulate them.
Schaper says the ACCC doesn’t normally intervene in safety issues where there are specialist regulators responsible for those goods, mainly because it would duplicate the activities of those regulators and cost businesses more to comply.
He also said that the onus is on retailers and wholesalers of products to manage the quality assurance and control of goods they procure, and that this involves showing a deep interest in a product’s whole supply chain and procurement methodology.
His address in full below:
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“The ACCC is responsible for the safety and regulation of consumer goods. A ‘consumer good’ is intended or likely to be used for personal, domestic or household use or consumption.”
“The ACCC is not the agency responsible for building product regulation. Specialist regulators are responsible for building products, as well as food products, drugs and therapeutic goods, motor vehicles and industrial and agricultural chemicals.“
“The Australian Building Codes Board administers the National Construction Code, which includes the Building Code of Australia. State and territory building authorities adopt and enforce the Building Code through various building acts and regulations.”
“The ACCC doesn’t normally intervene in safety issues where there are specialist regulators responsible for those goods, or where the goods are not primarily consumer goods. This is to prevent duplication of the activities of other regulators and minimise compliance costs for businesses. Concerns about non-compliant products in these areas of specialist regulation should be raised with the specialist regulator for action,” Dr Schaper said.
“The ACCC encourages builders and their representatives to work closely with their building regulators to complement the ACCC’s consumer product safety initiative to encourage safe product stewardship. Our building regulator colleagues’ interest in securing safe outcomes for householders mirrors that held by the ACCC for consumer products.”
“All retailers and wholesalers need to manage the quality assurance and control of goods they procure. This can be achieved through testing and inspection of finished goods, by monitoring the supply chain, and by adopting safe and reliable procurement practices such as dealing with established suppliers they know and trust or developing such relationships with new suppliers.”
“The ACCC recognises the respective roles of the consumer law and the building regulators and acknowledges that learning in one sector can assist practice in another,” he said.