Writer and Editor: Kieran Balmaceda                                        Technical Advisory: Greg Payne

Our increasing knowledge of the risks posed by unsafe cladding products has understandably given rise to the continued growth of public interest and awareness of the issue.

In the past year alone, media reporting has grown significantly with regards to cladding related stories, mirroring your concerns as owners and occupants in the built-form as to what measures are being taken and what solutions are being discussed by Government and industry bodies.

It is understandable that this information, the surrounding events and discussion have caused significant concern as to the future of the issue, rectification of buildings and structures found to contain unsafe cladding and the legislative landscape.

Certifiers and building practitioners face their own challenges also. The ability to possess mandatory insurance has since become a major concern too, as building certifiers must meet certain requirements such that they are granted a license to practice.

The response to rising concerns by Insurance providers has, for the most part, been a refusal to provide or renew Public Indemnity Insurance policies without significant exclusions or special conditions relating to cladding related claims or to otherwise mandate significant price increases that will flow onto the construction industry.

Industry body AIBS issued a statement in response to the issue on the eleventh of June, discussing industry and government concerns of a pending shortage of qualified practitioners, many of whom may be forced to close their businesses due to their inability to obtain coverage.

Major concerns highlighted in the document have cautioned the Government against “kneejerk stop-gap measures” maintaining that their position and the issue itself have been well known and documented, stating “they have been warned about [this] for many years.”

Where does this matter leave Hendry?

We are proud to confirm that as a result of our long standing record of quality and professionalism, we are one of a limited number of organisations in Australia who have successfully renewed our Professional Indemnity Insurance, significantly above the minimum required levels, with no exclusions or special conditions, maintaining the ability of our Building Certifiers and Surveyors to continue to practice uninhibited across our national offices.

It is important for us to communicate this, as we understand the relative uncertainty in the industry and general public may present the matter as unclear moving forward.

What defines a practitioner as insurable? How do you identify which supplier to use?

First and foremost, a supplier of building certification services must be able to demonstrate an adherence to stringent quality measures and the uncompromised application of all relevant and necessary regulations and standards.

The track record of a supplier’s work, and insurance position is likely to cause the construction industry and other dependent industries to migrate to organisations and suppliers who have a minimal level of risk across their portfolio and work history. Through our own internal practices, Hendry has upheld our history of maintaining a high level of insurance cover since the organisation was founded over 36 years ago.

The bottom line is that practitioners who are able to renew their insurance without exclusion or special conditions, as we have, are able to demonstrate a consistent quality of practice supported by an unambiguous business approach which anticipates and avoids risk.

What will the greater impact be?

In statements released earlier this week, Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mr. Mick De Brenni, has further highlighted concerns over Building Certifiers ability to obtain or renew Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Mr. De Brenni reinforced this sentiment, commenting “If there is not certainty soon buildings will not be occupied and construction will come to a standstill.”

An adverse consequence of this increased restriction on Insurance for Building Certifiers has seen insurance costs rise, the move labelled as “massive and unaffordable” by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors.

This has caused conflict over the availability of coverage which satisfies the necessary criteria for the registration of Building Certifiers, particularly in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria where “the last remaining provider of exclusion-free insurance policies will no longer guarantee coverage from 2 July 2019.”

ABIS also claims that the few Insurance Providers, newer to the market, who were “sourced to offer exclusion-free policies” have since “exited the market”, claiming the issue has been made known to authorities in all jurisdictions since June last year.

Our experts are able to address your concerns across building compliance and certification or any questions you may have surrounding external cladding, with decades of experience in managing issues across the built-form.

Send us an email at info@hendry.com.au or call 1800 875 371. Let’s discuss your needs.