Companies that use dodgy or banned building products in NSW such as non-compliant cladding may be issued fines of more than one million dollars under new laws introduced by the Berejiklian government.
The NSW government says the new regime also includes fines of up to $220,000 for individuals who breach these bans.
Under the new laws, builders, building product suppliers, manufacturers and importers will be compelled to produce their records so that dangerous products can be tracked and pinpointed. Failure to provide this information to Fair Trading will be a criminal offence, with penalties of up to $11,000 for individuals.
The fines are all part of a raft of measures stemming from the Grenfell Tower fire in London in June that killed some 80 people.
According to NSW Better Regulation minister Matt Kean, “London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy was a horrific and stark reminder of the importance of doing all we can to make people in high rise unit blocks as safe as possible.”
“Any shonky operator who thinks they will be able to continue using the wrong product in the wrong place should think twice. We will throw the book at anyone who is found to have breached these new laws,” he says.
Once Fair Trading identifies properties where building products have been used inappropriately, local councils will be notified to force rectification where there is a safety issue.
The NSW government says that it will also monitor councils’ progress.
“We are doing everything we can to identify unsafe buildings, and make sure they are made safe as quickly as possible,” Kean says.
According to Kean, an audit identifying buildings in NSW that are likely to contain aluminium cladding and other types of cladding has so far identified 1047 buildings that may have non-compliant cladding, according to the minister.
“In a small number of cases – fewer than 100 – where cladding has been identified, Fire & Rescue is updating its fire response plans,” he says.
“It’s important to remember not all cladding is bad, and just having cladding does not mean a building is unsafe,” Kean says.
“However, the new laws will make it easier to pinpoint buildings which may have unsafe cladding, and easier to get them fixed.”
“The fines are consistent with existing provisions under Australian consumer law regarding bans on consumer goods and product-related services,” Kean says.
“The NSW government makes no apologies for introducing tough new penalties for those who choose to flout these laws,” he says.