"Ai Group understands that the testing and certification documentation for the asbestos-containing products incorrectly asserted conformance with Australian regulatory requirements. This incident is far from isolated and is a sharp reminder of the findings of Ai Group's report The quest for a level playing field: The non-conforming building product dilemma. This 2013 report found major shortcomings in the surveillance, audit checking, testing and conformance of building products used in Australia. Unfortunately little has changed in the past few years.
"Similar findings are contained in a 2016 interim report from the Senate Economics References Committee enquiry into non-conforming building products. That report referred to the "various areas of glaring weakness in the regulatory regime, including the certification process, and the disjointed regulation of the use of building products, both manufactured in Australia and overseas". It is vital that this enquiry is reconvened and finalised as a matter of priority.
"It is also critical that the Building Ministers Forum puts in place an accelerated work program following its 2016 report Strategies to address risks related to non-conforming building products. A particular recommendation was that regulators' powers should be enhanced to respond to incidences of non-conforming building product.
"There is a clear need for adequately-resourced, highly-visible and effective enforcement that extends from border controls, to points of sale and to building sites. This is the single most important step required to ensure the safety and quality of products sold in Australia and so that the vast majority of businesses who comply with Australia's regulatory requirements are not undercut by unscrupulous operators," Mr Willox said.
Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347