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Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety release guide for consumers and builders

Master Builders Association of Western Australia (MBA WA) acknowledges the challenges the building and construction industry have been undergoing over the last few years. Building and renovating a home during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for our members, the industry and consumers.

Many issues beyond the builders’ direct control have impacted the building industry, such as shortages of critical building materials, global supply chain issues, skilled worker shortages, as well as the rising cost of materials.

I am pleased to see Premier Mark McGowan and the State Government acknowledge the issues and work with the building industry on the way forward.

When the State Budget was released, Mr McGowan announced a nation-leading support package designed to assist the industry and public to cope with these challenges.

“Both private and public construction projects are being impacted by global supply pressures, putting upward pressure on input costs and tight labour market conditions, with unemployment rate at lowest level in years,” he said.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) recently released the Building a Home in Challenging Times guide.

The seven-page guide explains the current challenges and related legislation and protections, ranging from contract laws and complaints processes through to insolvency and home indemnity insurance.

“These challenges are often out of the builder or tradesperson’s hands as market forces were at play, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and global trade issues,” DMIRS Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said. “The effects can be frustrating for everyone involved, but I am confident that most WA building industry participants are doing their best to manage the challenges and get projects completed.”

As a strong advocate for increased awareness of these challenges and educational material to support consumers to work collaboratively with their builder, I am pleased to see the development of this document.

Demand has slowed with housing approvals declining off the peak experienced in 2021, so we hope this will also ease some of the pressure as we move forward and build out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MBA WA is asking all Western Australians to be kind and patient with builders and tradespeople. If you are looking to build a new home or renovate, talk to a MBA WA member first, who can explain the process and answer all your questions.

For more information and a copy of the guide, visit www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/building-home-challenging-times.

MBA WA members are kept up to date with all the latest government advice, so if you are not a member and are not receiving our latest updates, become a member today.

Speak to our membership team on 9476 9800 or email membership@mbawa.com.

Q&A with MBA Housing and Construction Director Jason Robertson

The Question

I have a block I am building on and there is no deep sewer available.

I was wondering if I could have an eco toilet instead of a septic system with leach drains or soakwells?

The Answer

It is possible, yes.

Eco toilets or waterless/composting toilets are getting more popular. They offer an alternative to a conventional flushing toilet and have the added advantage of being odourless and water-saving.

In addition, other environmental benefits of these toilets include providing the property owner with nutrient-dense compost for gardening treatments.

With conventional apparatus, considerations must be given to their location from other structures, including vehicular traffic such as driveways and the like. However, these systems do have the ability to be in these areas, provided they have trafficable lids.

Eco toilets work by having moisture managed via drainage and evaporation systems, which removes excess liquid from the solids. Furthermore, oxygen is regulated using low-wattage ventilation systems, which aerate the compost and, importantly, serve to evacuate any odours from the toilet room.

Regardless of the type of effluent disposal system, there are regulations that must be adhered to. It would be recommended in the first instance to speak with your local council’s environmental health officer.

There are several things to be considered, which will determine what type of system is appropriate and can be installed.

The Department of Health has a published list of approved waterless/composting systems.

For more information, visit www.health.wa.gov.au.

Happy sustainable building.

CONTACT Master Builders WA, 9476 9800, www.mbawa.com

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