So, I know I give NSW a hard time about the validity of their owner builder educational requirements not covering vital legislative information to ensure owner builders run their projects compliantly, but ....
One thing they have right, is they require owner builder applicants to provide proof of having completed General Safety Induction Training (White Card) before being issued a permit.
Other states are still to make this a requirement and they should.
The reason is, that whilst covered by separate legislation, as an owner builder, you have defined responsibilities in your capacity as the Principal Contractor or PCBU for your site.
Last week, I was told of an owner builder in Queensland (one of our past students), who was paid a visit by a WorkSafe Queensland inspector.
The owner builder was asked to provide the following:
The owner builder could not provide any of the required documents and was forced to cease all works on the site immediately till the shortcomings were addressed and rectified.
I understand that the owner builder was fined for not having appropriate safety signage and for not providing the required amenities on site for the contractors.
Now this might sound harsh, but I think the owner builder in question was possibly very fortunate.
Had this site suffered a serious incident that resulted in death or injury, there exists a very real possibility that the owner builder may not have been covered by insurance.
You could argue that the individual contractors should have workcover and other related insurances that cover themselves and their staff, but given the owner builders lack of attention to detail in other matters, I doubt they would have made the required checks to satisfy themselves that this was the case.
So if you think I am trying to drum up business when I suggest that our owner builders complete General Safety Induction Training, you are right.
However, it is also largely based on my knowledge that to complete a project as an owner builder without this training is both non compliant and carries serious risk.
Abacus training provides access to all of our owner builder students, considerable resources to help you manage WHS obligations on your site.
Take care out there and Safe Owner Building!
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.