'Dodgy developers' claim denied
Canberra developers say they are not to blame for bad buildings, as the Government plans to ban “dodgy developers”.
The ACT Government has proposed laws to tackle ‘dodgy’ property developers escaping accountability for poor quality work.
The proposals include an as yet undeveloped licensing scheme for property developers, and laws that would make directors liable for penalties and rectification orders, even if their company goes under.
Canberra developer Barry Morris, director of the Morris Property Group, says developers are not to blame for all problems.
“The ACT Government is going the wrong way on the food chain,” he told the ABC.
“They're going up the food chain to developers, but, in fact, I think they should be going the other direction down the food chain to consultants, designers, all the engineering disciplines.”
He said developers should not have to be accountable for the actions of other licensed professionals.
“We don't have an employee-employer relationship,” he said.
“We have an arm's-length, third-party contract with a builder, and the builder then has arm's-length contracts with designers and subcontractors.
“So I don't agree that it's as simple as saying: ‘Because the developer is ultimately the person sitting on top of that pile that he has the knowledge or the expertise to be responsible’.”
Mr Morris also disagreed with the government’s language.
“We take offence that the minister would be calling them ‘dodgy developers’,” he said.
“The inference is that every developer is dodgy.”
Building Quality Minister Gordon Ramsay said the new laws would help hold all levels of the construction industry accountable, from the top down.
“Using the old adage ‘the fish rots from the head down’, we want to look at the entire process and not just some parts of it,” he said.
“There are important roles that property developers play in ensuring the quality of building that we have.”
Consultation sessions have been planned over the next year to determine how the measures will be implemented.