The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called for a Senate Inquiry into non-conforming building products, following the launch of a consumer awareness campaign by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into faulty electrical cables.

“The news that the ACCC is launching a campaign on Infinity cables, which could have been installed in up to 40,000 properties, must surely be the catalyst for a formal Inquiry,” said HIA building products spokesperson Kristin Brookfield.

“We applaud the launch of the ACCC campaign, which is an essential public safety response.”

“However, campaigns such as this, initiated with the safety of thousands of Australians in mind, can be avoided by safeguarding against the use of non-conforming products in the first instance.”

“The problem of non-genuine and non-tested building materials and components making their way into building product supply chain is growing. Regardless of where something is manufactured, it should meet Australian compliance standards.”

“With more and more products being manufactured offshore, and increased access to these products by individuals, the need to focus on compliance has never been greater.”

“A key concern is that the evolution of compliance and enforcement in Australia has not kept pace with changes to our economy, global supply chains, and how or where products are manufactured or sourced.”

“Manufacturers who do the right thing are being disadvantaged against those fail to test and confirm that products meet Australia’s compliance standards.”

The terms of reference for a formal inquiry should include:

  1.  The extent of building product non-conformance across the Australian building and construction industry.
  2. The impact of building product non-conformance on Australia’s product supply chain, including the effect on consumers, building costs and compliance.
  3. The current regulatory framework, including any gaps in regulatory coverage.
  4. Recommendations on alternatives to improve the regulatory coverage of building product conformance, and options to enhance surveillance screening on imported building products.