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Construction cowboys watch out


New building laws targeting construction cowboys are coming into force on New Year's Day.

A new law will require all construction jobs over $30,000 to be covered by detailed contract. Source: 1 NEWS

Builders on big jobs have to be more open with clients or risk being fined.

Every building job costing more than $30,000 will now need to be covered by a detailed contract.

"That's going to have to outline your rights, their obligations, including the value of the work, when it's going to start, when it's likely to finish [and] if there's any problems how you'll resolve them," says Sue Chetwin, Consumer chief executive.

Before they can start work, builders will also have to reveal their skills and qualifications, what sort of warranty is on offer and their level of insurance cover.

And they'll have to provide a checklist, setting out the client's rights and explaining the building process.

Failure to comply with any of the new rules will attract a fine of $500.

Even better, the protection continues once the job's done.

"In that first 12 months, after the building is completed, they will basically be able to get anything righted. It will be up to the builder to prove that the consumer's wrong," Ms Chetwin says.

But she says there's room to go further.

"Unfortunately, there's no real disputes resolution like you might have with the Banking Ombudsman scheme or if something goes wrong with your electricity or gas. That's still problematic and we'd still like to see some improvements there."