Ethics and authenticity are the new reality in the NSW construction industry.
Ethics is about intent and values. Authenticity is about capabilities to deliver. Without both, the industry is hollow.
The need for change
The following case studies highlight the indifference and lack of consumer perspective some so-called industry professionals display.
Choose a good certifier
On one site, there had been a change of certifier after the previous certifier was banned from practising for five years.
The project was nearing completion, most of the wet areas were finished.
I asked the certifier how he would verify the compliance of completed wet areas inspected by his predecessor.
'I didn’t see these, so I am unable to say,’ he said.
When he signed the occupation certificate, he became responsible for the whole project.
We agreed that I would return to the project in two weeks and he would identify previously inspected wet areas and apartment numbers. Randomly, I’d choose three areas and we’d inspect them. If ok, fine. If not, we’d choose another three.
The key message for developers and builders is to make good choices when selecting a certifier.
Make sure materials are authentic
While scrummaging through rubbish skips during a recent visit to a construction site, I found packages and materials that had nothing to verify their authenticity.
When asked how he’d verify the certificates as he prepared an occupancy certificate, the certifier replied ‘it wasn’t his job’.
‘Non-compliant materials should be stopped at the border,’ he said.
We agreed to do a thorough investigation into what he intends to accept and reject.
It’s important to remember that builders are ultimately responsible for building projects in accordance with proper designs and making sure materials and installations are compliant.
Developers should remind builders of their obligations every time a progress payment is made.
Renovators, be aware.
I recently visited a major supplier's warehouse and found a range of poorly labelled and non-compliant products.
I’m concerned that not only renovators, but those who also subsequently purchase their places, may not know about these potential problems.
The consequences are endless.
More visits are planned to plumbing and electrical distributors to investigate similar issues.
Better informed consumers
Sponsoring sports clubs and industry events are wonderful community gestures, but they won’t make you a respectable corporate citizen if your buildings lack integrity.
Our economy desperately needs new construction activity, so we’ll begin promoting trustworthy players and publishing case studies as to why others are less so. In some cases, we’ll negotiate enforceable undertakings.
Consumers will become better informed. We want them back in the market.
Resetting the construction brand
Working with educators to address capability gaps among professionals, managers, regulators and industry service providers is one of the most important parts of the Construct NSW reform program.
The areas to be addressed will be announced soon.