Disputes (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 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 2017/18, Building and Energy received 730 disputes. Of these, 574 were building service disputes, 102 were HBWC disputes and 54 included both a building service and HBWC element.
Table 1: Disputes lodged
|Building service and HBWC||47||70||88||78||54|
Complaints against registered/licensed service providers made up 413 of the disputes received, while complaints against unregistered/unlicensed services providers comprised 291. In addition, there were 26 complaints where building service providers had contractual disputes with an owner.
Table 2: Disputes lodged – service provider type
|Complaint against owner – HBWC||17||19||16||43||26|
There were 828 disputes finalised in 2017/18. Finalised disputes may include those carried over from previous years. Of the disputes finalised, 303 resulted in an order being made by the Building Commissioner, 200 were referred to the State Administrative Tribunal, 159 resulted in an order being made by consent, 64 were withdrawn, 58 were dismissed by the Building Commissioner and 44 were refused 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||102||80||72||65||44|
|Order made by Building Commissioner||238||309||386||340||303|
|Order made by consent||71||50||60||56||159|
|Referred to State Administrative Tribunal||146||193||173||178||200|
|Complaint dismissed by the Building Commissioner||54||62||79||54||58|
It took on average 163 calendar days to close a dispute in 2017/18. This includes matters that have been refused or referred to the State Administrative Tribunal. Of these, 33 per cent were finalised within three months, 33 per cent were finalised between three and six months, 27 per cent were finalised between 6 and 12 months and 7% took greater than 12 months to finalise.
Table 4: Finalised disputes – timeliness
|Average calendar days to close dispute||169||169||195||165||163|
|Disputes finalised within 3 months (%)||37||36||29||32||33|
|Disputes finalised between 3 and 6 months (%)||34||32||35||34||33|
|Disputes finalised between 6 and 12 months (%)||22||23||23||27||27|
|Disputes finalised greater than 12 months (%)||7||9||13||7||7|
Enforcement (investigations into statutory offences 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 254 statutory offence and disciplinary complaints received in 2017/18. Of these, 88 related to disciplinary matters and 166 to statutory offences.
Table 1: Investigations received – complaint type
|Disciplinary matter – registered/licensed||90||88||101||67||88|
|Statutory offence – registered/licensed||140||157||21||29||88|
|Statutory offence – unregistered/unlicensed||1||41||123||115||78|
Of the 254 statutory offence and disciplinary complaints received in 2017/18, 113 related to a building service, 89 to a painting service, 31 to a plumbing service and 21 to building surveying.
Table 2: Investigations received – building service
There were 80 disciplinary matters and 172 statutory offenses finalised in 2017/18.
Of the disciplinary matters finalised, 45 were refused by the Building Commissioner, 14 were referred to the Building services Board and 11 were dismissed by the Building Commissioner.
Table 3: Disciplinary matters finalised – outcomes
|Complaint refused by Building Commissioner||36||38||41||34||45|
|Complaint dismissed by Building Commissioner||34||11||23||2||11|
|No action/no breach||2||4||4||1||2|
|Referred to State Administrative Tribunal||6||4||13||10||2|
|Referred to Building Services Board||17||22||17||5||14|
|Referred to other||1||0||2||3||6|
Of the 172 statutory offense complaints finalised in 2017/18, 152 resulted in an administrative warning, 13 in no action/no breach and six in prosecution.
Table 4: Statutory offence complaints finalised – outcomes
|Referred to State Administrative Tribunal||0||0||2||0||0|
|No action/no breach||36||20||15||16||13|
It took on average 150 calendar days to close statutory offence and disciplinary complaints in 2017/18. Of these 65 per cent were finalised within three months, seven per cent between three and six months, 11 per cent between six and twelve months and 17 per cent greater than 12 months.
Table 5: Investigations finalised
|Average days to close dispute||177||111||142||122||150|
|Investigations finalised within 3 months (%)||58||74||59||62||65|
|Investigations finalised between 3 and 6 months (%)||11||4||9||10||7|
|Investigations finalised between 6 and 12 months (%)||13||14||20||16||11|
|Investigations finalised greater than 12 months (%)||17||8||11||12||17|
General inspection and audits reports
A general inspection (snapshot) into wind classification compliance for Western Australian houses
State-wide cladding audit report
A general inspection into bush fire building requirements in Western Australia
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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