Disputes – referred to as building service or home building work contract complaints
Any person adversely affected by the carrying out of a regulated building service may lodge a complaint alleging that a building service has not been carried out in a proper and proficient manner or is faulty or unsatisfactory. This type of complaint can only be made within six years of the building service being completed.
A person under a home building work contract (HBWC) may also lodge a complaint regarding a breach of the contract or a breach of the Home Building Contracts Act 1991. This type of complaint must be lodged within three years of the cause of the breach arising.
Building service complaints may be lodged against both registered and unregistered building service providers. Home building work contract complaints may be lodged by either party under the contract, including by the builder against the owner should a breach of the contract be alleged.
The purpose of dispute resolution is to provide a remedy or a determination to the issues in dispute. This is done without regard to who is at fault or apportioning blame to a particular party. If concerns with regard to conduct, or a breach of statutory law is identified during the course of dealing with a building service or home building work complaint, these concerns are referred to the Building Commission Enforcement Branch for consideration outside the dispute resolution process.
If warranted, the Enforcement Branch will commence an investigation into the matter if it is considered that a statutory offence or disciplinary complaint may be substantiated.
Dispute resolution process
In 2016/17, the Building Commission received 900 disputes. Of these, 703 were building service disputes, 119 were HBWC disputes and 78 included both a building service and HBWC element.
Table 1: Disputes lodged with the Building Commission
|Building service and HBWC||41||47||70||88||78|
Complaints against registered/licensed service providers made up 534 of the disputes received, while complaints against unregistered/unlicensed service providers comprosed 324. In addition, there were 42 complaints where building service providers had contractural disputes with an owner.
Table 2: Disputes lodged with the Building Commission – service provider type
|Complaint against owner – HBWC||0||17||19||16||42|
There were 896 disputes finalised in 2016/17. Finalised disputes may include those carried over from previous years. Of the disputes finalised, 343 resulted in an order being made by the Building Commissioner, 199 were withdrawn, 178 were referred to the State Administrative Tribunal, 66 were refused by the Building Commissioner, 56 resulted in an order being made by consent and 54 were dismissed by the Building Commissioner.
Disputes may be refused for a variety of reasons, including those that have not been lodged in accordance with the relevant legislation or that are lodged outside of the statutory time limit.
Table 3: Finalised disputes – outcomes
|Complaint refused by Building Commissioner||70||102||80||72||66|
|Order made by Building Commissioner||206||238||311||387||343|
|Order made by consent||69||71||50||60||56|
|Referred to State Administrative Tribunal||287||149||193||173||178|
|Complaint dismissed by the Building Commissioner||28||54||62||80||54|
It took on average 165 calendar days to close a dispute in 2016/17. This includes matters that have been refused or referred to the State Administrative Tribunal. Of these, 32 per cent were finalised within three months, 34 per cent were finalised between three and six months, 27 per cent were finalised between six and 12 months and seven per cent took greater than 12 months to finalise.
Table 4: Finalised disputes – timeliness
|Average calendar days to close dispute||174||169||169||195||165|
|Disputes finalised within 3 months (%)||36||37||36||29||32|
|Disputes finalised between 3 and 6 months (%)||34||34||32||35||34|
|Disputes finalised between 6 and 12 months (%)||21||22||23||23||27|
|Disputes finalised greater than 12 months (%)||9||7||9||13||7|
Enforcement – referred to as investigations (statutory offence and disciplinary complaints)
A disciplinary complaint can be lodged in connection with the conduct of a registered building service provider and a statutory offence complaint can be lodged about both registered and non-registered building service providers. Registered building service providers include builders, plumbers, painters, building surveyors and approved owner-builders.
A statutory breach relates to allegations that a building service provider has breached statutory obligations or where an unregistered person performs work which requires registration.
The aim of an investigation is to establish the facts and, where applicable, attribute fault to a party.
There were 211 statutory offence and disciplinary complaints received in 2016/17. Of these, 68 related to disciplinary matters and 143 to statutory offences.
Table 1: Investigations received – compliant type
|Disciplinary matter – registered/licensed||105||90||88||101||68|
|Statutory offence – registered/licensed||162||140||157||21||29|
|Statutory offence – unregistered/unlicensed||1||1||41||123||114|
Of the 211 statutory offence and disciplinary complaints received in 2016/17, 129 related to a building service, 40 to a painting service, 34 to a plumbing service, six to building surveying and two to adjudicating work.
Table 2: Investigations received – building service
There were 55 disciplinary matters and 134 statutory offences finalised in 2016/17.
Of the disciplinary matters finalised, 34 were refused by the Building Commissioner, 10 were referred to the State Administrative Tribunal and five were referred to the Building Services Board.
Table 3: Disciplinary matters finalised – outcomes
|Complaint refused by Building Commissioner||51||36||38||41||34|
|Complaint dismissed by Building Commissioner||15||34||11||23||2|
|No action/no breach||19||2||4||4||1|
|Referred to State Administrative Tribunal||5||6||8||13||10|
|Referred to Building Services Board||3||17||18||17||5|
|Referred to other||0||1||0||2||3|
Of the 134 statutory offence complaints finalised in 2016/17, 108 resulted in an administrative warning, 13 in no action/no breach and 11 in prosecution.
Table 4: Statutory offence complaints finalised – outcomes
|Referred to State Administrative Tribunal||2||0||0||2||0|
|No action/no breach||47||36||20||13||13|
It took on average 122 calendar days to close statutory offence and disciplinary complaints in 2016/17. Of these, 62 percent were finalised within three months, 10 per cent between three and six months, 16 per cent between six and 12 months and 12 per cent greater than 12 months.
Table 5: Investigations finalised
|Average days to close dispute||168||177||111||142||122|
|Investigations finalised within 3 months (%)||48||58||74||59||62|
|Investigations finalised between 3 and 6 months (%)||10||11||4||9||10|
|Investigations finalised between 6 and 12 months (%)||32||13||14||20||16|
|Investigations finalised greater than 12 months (%)||10||17||8||11||12|
General inspection and audits reports
A summary of technical building inspections 2016-17
Perth Children’s Hospital audit - fire walls: Supplementary report
A general inspection into Yuanda-supplied products in the Western Australian building industry: Final report
Perth Children's Hospital audit: Final report
Investigation into gypsum plasterboard ceiling collapses
A summary of technical building inspections 2016-17 (mid-year)
A summary of technical building inspections 2015-16
Perth Children's Hospital asbestos: Interim report
Aluminium composite panelling in high-rise buildings: Interim report
A general inspection into sheet metal clad timber framed roof construction in Western Australia
Background information: A general inspection into sheet metal clad timber framed roof construction in Western Australia
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