Construction industry leaders are urging federal, state and territory governments to address insurance cost increases for building certifiers, which Master Builders Australia says could bring building and construction activity to a standstill.
Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn says as early as July up to 30 per cent of insurance renewals for building certifiers and surveyors may not be renewed and construction activity could grind to a halt.
“Insurers, as a result of a number of fires around the world, including the Grenfell fire in the UK, have elevated risk ratings on cladding affected buildings,” she says.
“They are declining to provide professional indemnity insurance, offering it with unacceptable exclusions or asking for unaffordable premium increases for building certifier professional indemnity renewals. As a result, certifiers who are needed to sign-off new buildings are being forced to close up shop.
Wawn says the problem is already causing delays to building projects across the country and will only get worse as more insurers withdraw from the market.
“We need all governments to come together now to manage what has become a risk for the whole industry caused by the use of combustible cladding on some buildings.”
Master Builders Australia would like to see authorities institute the following measures:
- Establish a national pool of qualified engineers to sign off high-risk components.
- Set up a working group to deliver options within six months for funding the rectification of existing buildings with combustible cladding.
- State governments allow for temporary licence exclusions for combustible cladding, specific to aluminium composite panels and expanded polystyrene.
Master Builders wrote to building ministers in April seeking action ahead of the July deadline.
“Master Builders around the country are also calling for governments to speed up implementation of recommendations in the Shergold-Weir Building Confidence report to improve access to and the reliability of regulatory requirements for the building and construction sector.”
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