Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting many industries as present - including the building industry.
If you are currently building or looking to start building a home, you should be aware of the protections in place.
Work on building sites is progressing, but there may be delays if there are difficulties sourcing materials or if there are labour shortages. Customers are asked to be understanding where delays occur at no fault of their builder.
People contracting for major residential building work (costing $12,000 or more and requiring development approval) are required to be covered by Building Indemnity Insurance (BII). This provides cover in the event that the builder becomes insolvent and cannot complete the project or perform warranty repairs, and is an important safeguard that assists consumers to have their homes completed at only the cost of the insurance excess ($400).
BII covers the additional costs of completing work or the cost of warranty repairs up to $150,000. You should make sure that you have received a copy of the BII insurance certificate before the builder commences work.
The Federal Government has also announced temporary changes to Australian corporate insolvency laws to reduce the risk of business insolvency.
You should also make sure that you only make progress payments as each stage of work is completed in accordance with your contract.
A builder cannot require you to pay in advance of substantially completing work (other than a deposit and certain third party costs before work commences) and any prepayments may not be covered by BII.
Multi-storey residential buildings
Please be aware that BII is not required for multi-storey residential buildings where the building has more than three storeys and contains two or more separate dwellings.
There is no cover for insolvency in these situations.
Personal financial situation
If you are currently building a home and your financial situation changes, you are encouraged to contact your financial institution as soon as possible to discuss what arrangements can be made.
You are also advised to enquire about the government assistance programs being introduced as a response to the COVID-19 situation.