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    Federal government turns attention to poor building product compliance in Australia

    Geraldine Chua

    The Federal Government has focused its attention on the problem of faulty building products in Australia, with Parliamentary Secretary for Industry Bob Baldwin convening a national meeting with building industry leaders earlier this week to address the influx of non-conforming building products.

    The meeting was called to develop an action strategy with industry to stop unsafe practices from occurring.

    The move has been welcomed by the Housing Industry Association (HIA), which put forward the concerns of home builders, manufacturers and product suppliers at the lack of coordination and oversight in relation to building product compliance at the meeting.

    “The supply chain for building products and materials should provide certainty to home builders and contractors that the products on the shelf are fit for purpose,” said HIA building spokesperson, Kristin Brookfield.

    However, the current building product supply chain in Australia for both locally made and imported products leaves the decision of whether a product is fit for purpose in the hands of “the last person standing” – the consumer.

    “This shouldn't be the case. The responsibility for making sure products comply should rest with the manufacturers, suppliers and importers. They should be responsible for proving to the buyer that their products are fit for purpose and be willing to back up their products with ongoing after sales support,” said Brookfield.

    “This is an increasing problem for the whole building industry, and no one wants to see a significant or catastrophic failure occur. It's time that all levels of government worked together to seriously address the issue.”

    Non-compliant products flooding the market

    Evidence has shown that the market penetration of non-conforming products in several key construction product sectors in Australia may be up to 50 per cent.

    In August this year, an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation resulted in an urgent recall of dodgy electrical wiring which affected an estimated 40,000 households and businesses across the country. A recent survey by the Australian Industry Group also found that 92 per cent of builders surveyed had been offered faulty materials or products to buy.

    “These faulty products are not meeting Australian standards and causing significant risk of fire or failing the most basic of stress tests,” Baldwin said.

    “Families building a new home or renovating their home should be able to have confidence that their dream build is being completed to the highest standards with the best quality products.”

    In response to this growing problem, the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) released a guide in October to help the industry better choose compliant construction products. Jointly developed by 30 key construction industry stakeholders, the guide aims to assist procurers in gaining a more informed understanding of the compliance process and exercise improved decision-making.

    The APCC guide can be downloaded HERE. Faulty building materials can be reported to the ACCC

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