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Strataman reading
"Home Warranty Insurance - now there's a term that has struck fear into owners and builders alike for many years.  The collapse of HIH all those years ago really shook the industry to it's core but times have changed since those dark days and there's been some major developments and improvements in this complicated area.  I've put together a quite comprehensive report on this topic - along with the change of name to the Home Building Compensation Fund - and I'm sure you'll get a lot out of it with many reference sites to ensure there is no stone left unturned."

Everyone is still trying to come to grips with exactly how the NEW legislation changes (that came into effect on Nov 30, 2016) will affect our strata lives and some companies may be a little slow changing some of their webpages, forms and articles to reflect the new laws.

So please be a little patient if some of the links I give you refer back to some old legislation or have simply disappeared.

I have to have SOME faith so I'm hoping most will update their info as soon as possible. Eventually everyone will be on the same page but it could take just a little time.  Just know that I will be keeping my ear to the ground for changes...and that I will do my best to fix what I can as soon as I can.

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What it is

OK - strap yourselves in folks as the changes are coming thick and fast...
New Home Warranty Insurance arrangements for NSW commenced on 1 July 2010 when the NSW Self insurance Corporation took over as the sole provider of home warranty insurance within NSW and became known as the NSW Home Building Compensation Fund.  If that wasn't enough, the HBCF became the NSW ICare Builders Warranty from September 1st, 2015.  Now it's just ICare HBCF.  Whew...did you get all that?  Not sure even I did...

Have a look at the About Us page from ICare - it might help to make it all a 'little' clearer lol.

To quote from the NSW ICare Builders Warranty site: "icare builders warranty sits at the end of a comprehensive consumer protection regime for homeowners undertaking residential building projects in NSW where the contract price exceeds $20,000. ".

And it goes on: "Where a builder is unable to honour their commitments under a contract due to insolvency, death or disappearance, insurance under the icare builders warranty provides a safety net for homeowners including subsequent purchasers.  Similarly, where a builder is unwilling to honour such commitments and their license is suspended for failing to comply with a money (compensation) order in favour of the homeowner made by a Court or the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), this cover provides protection to the homeowner.".

This (I hope) pretty much explains it in layman's terms.  Of course there are lots of 'finer details' (as always - like the exemption for buildings OVER 3 storeys) and they can be found if you click on some of the links listed below.

NOTE: As of June 2010, QBE Insurance was appointed as to act as an insurance agent of the NSW Government to assist in managing the transition to the new government-underwritten scheme.  Therefore, QBE is responsible for providing underwriting and claims managements services to the NSW Government.

So, if you are looking for any information or forms to do with this whole area, look no further than the QBE webpage titled QBE Builders Warranty Insurance.  This is an OK (but not overly exciting or informative) place to start AND, if you look a little further down the page, you'll see separate sections for each state.

HWI Regulations...

The initial round of changes to the pre-existing Home Building Act 1989 legislation and the Home Building Regulation 2004 - including major changes for Home Warranty Insurance - came into effect on July 1st, 2010.  Followed by additional 'tweaks' and more amendments coming into effect on February 1st, 2012.  Then, another lot of changes, which became law, in January and March of 2015.  I suspect there WILL be even more in the not too distant future..

Now, do you want a truly great, succinct, indepth explanation of what Home Warranty Insurance - NOW the Home Building Compensation Fund - is and does?  Of course you do.  Then go no further than the NSW Fair Trading (FT) website section called Home Building Compensation Fund.   Most of the finer details you need to know are right there!

NSW Fair Trading continues with the "good intel" with their version of the latest round of changes that came into effect in January and March of 2015 - and, again, it's very worthwhile having a read of this.   The link is: Major changes to home building laws.

Another really great summary of the important amendments done for 2011/2012 (but NOT for the 2015 changes) was produced Amy Harper, from a firm known as Kells Lawyers.  This summary is called: Home Building Act changes: what home owners and tradespersons need to knowDon't miss this one as it's laid out in an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow format.  Thanks Amy.   I'm hoping to see one for the 2015 changes but I haven't find it yet.


Specific Information for Builders and Tradies

For all of you builders and tradies out there - ensure you read the OFT fact sheet on Home Building Compensation Fund - Information for tradespeople to see just what your obligations are.  It's relatively short and to-the-point and will give you most of what you need to know.  Remember: You are the ones required by law (inmost cases) to take out this insurance!

Multi-storey Buildings & Exemption

The Multi-storey Buildings - HBCF Requirements information page (produced by NSW FT) goes over many of the 'twists and turns' associated with this somewhat complicated area.  To find out exactly what IS exempted and what isn't, plus to learn about working on an existing residential building, make sure you click on the link above.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions on Multi-Storey Buildings information page (produced by NSW FT) will also provide you builders and tradies out there with a few of the most common issues of interest when traversing the minefield of the Home Building Compensation Fund - especially those dealing with exemption conditions on high rise buildings.  This section might just help you get some of the answers you need.


NSW Government Home Building Compensation Fund

As previously mentioned, the new custodian for Home Warranty Insurance in NSW is the NSW Government Home Building Compensation Fund which has a good website that covers all the 'must-know' bits.  I guess you could even say it's the 'bible' for all this home warranty stuff and the place to go to find out everything.  You will need to use the navigation tabs across the top of the site's home page (and under the logo) though to get into the real juicy stuff.

For Home Owners

All you homeowners out there should click on the Home Owners section (which is in the main navigation menu across the top of the page).  This section has 5 main areas and it might pay for you to look at each one :-

  • Information for Home Owners
  • Information for Owner-Builders
  • Insurance Policies
  • Claims
  • HIH/FAI Rescue Package

For Builders & Contractors

All Builders and Contractors should go to the Builders & Contractors section and have a good look around the different parts.  All this might look a little scary at first glance but it does have some really important stuff in it.

The Builders & Contractors section includes the following:-

  • Eligibility (very popular)
  • Premiums (everyone wants to know about this one too)
  • Project Applications & Certificates of Insurance
  • Securities
  • Building Contract Review Program
  • Claims Quoting System

For Owner Builders

Even Owner Builders are not left out and can be found in the Owner Builders section.

For Developers

Thought you guys had been left out huh?  Not so fast, as there a section dedicated to you too. Developers are last on the main menu list but certainly not the least, so click on the Developers section to discover what you need to know.  You guys have just 3 sections covering:-

  • Information for Developers
  • Certificates of Insurance
  • Securities


Forms & Documents

Everybody should be sure to check out the Forms and Documents section.  This submenu item can be found in the About ICare Builders Warranty tab (across the top of the page) on the Home page.  It contains downloadable versions of summarised 'Fact Sheets' as well as all forms and other reference documents you might need.  It's a great resource and handy to come back to when needed.

Calculate Pricing

And, there's even a section on how to calculate the pricing that must be paid.  This should make you guys happy as you can now work out what you're up for - avoiding any nasty surprises.  Just go to the Online Pricing Calculator section.  The Pricing Calculator link can also be found by hovering over the About ICare HBCF tab, the Builders & Contractors tab, the Homeowners tab AND the Developers tab (across the top of the page) on the Home page.  The actual link is on thr ight and side of these it's pretty much everywhere.

TIP - Each of the sections I have pointed you to (on the NSW Govt Home Building Compensation Fund site) contain quite a bit of info but they also contain links - which can be found at the end of each topic - to allow you download a summarised 'fact sheet' version on the topic along with any forms you might need on the topic.  So don't miss these!!  Just remember though that the Forms & Documents section also contains all of these in the one location.  You choose which is easier for you to access.
Another TIP - There are some situations where NO Home Builders Compensation Fund is required - such as for buildings over 3-storeys and some off-the-plan sales, amongst others.  So make sure you know how the project is impacted - if at all.  If you don't know the answer then be sure to ask someone who will know or who can find out for you!!  After all, it's law!  The NSW Dept of Fair Trading (telephone: 13 32 20) is a great place to ask if you're unsure.


If any of you home owners out there DO make a claim under the NSW ICare policy then it might pay for you to look at NSW Fair Trading's information pages covering the Home Building Compensation Fund claims .  And don't forget to check out the Home Building Compensation Fund - Claims section on the ICare HBCF site as well.  There's some really important 'must-knows' in both of these.

Strata Title Terms and Jargon

If you need to know the meaning of one or more of the common terms mentioned above then have a look at the Strata Terms and Jargon Information page.

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DISCLAIMER:  All information on this website is of a general nature and is intended as a guide only.  Readers should check all information obtained from this website for accuracy from other sources and seek professional legal advice before taking any action based on any information obtained from this website.  Information on this website should not be substituted for proper legal advice.  The owners of this website will not be held responsible for any action taken as a consequence of same.

EXTERNAL SOURCES:  The owners of this website do not make any warranty or representations regarding the information, products, services provided by or qualifications of any external sources listed on this website.  Readers should make their own appropriate enquiries regarding accuracy, qualifications, licences, etc.  The owners of this website will not be responsible or liable in any way for any representations made by any external sources listed on this website.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This website deals with strata matters in NSW, Australia only.  Legislation varies in different states and territories and in other countries.  For information pertaining to places outside of NSW, Australia please refer to the appropriate legislation for your region.

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