Challenging Government Building Licence Decisions


Building Licences in New South Wales are issued by the New South Wales Government.  The Government has various powers in relation to those licences and may:
(a)    Refuse to issue a Licence.
(b)    Place conditions on a Licence.
(c)    Suspend or cancel a Licence.

Such Government actions can have serious consequences for builders in terms of earning a living or conducting a business.  

Applications for a Builder’s Licence, and Builders with a Licence can however challenge adverse decisions by the New South Wales Government about their licences.  And there are a number of different ways that builders can object to such Government decisions.  Furthermore, in appropriate cases, independent Tribunals or Arbitrators will overturn Government decisions about building licences.  

A recent example of this was in a New Wales Tribunal case which a builder, Mr Hamdan conducted.  In 2014, the New South Wales Commissioner for Fair Trading had cancelled the builder’s contractor licence.  The builder then asked the Commissioner to restore his licence, but the Commissioner refused.  The builder then asked for a review of that decision to not restore the licence, however the Commissioner said he could not conduct a review.

The Builder then filed a case in the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) where he asked for a ruling about whether the Commissioner had made the correct decision in refusing to restore the licence.  

At the hearing of the case before the NCAT, the Commissioner argued that the tribunal was not permitted to hear arguments about the restoration of the licence. At this hearing, the tribunal heard submissions from the builder’s lawyers and from the Commissioner. After hearing all the arguments, at the end of the case, the tribunal in late 2015, ruled that the Commissioner was wrong, and that the builder did in fact have the right to have his request to restore his licence heard by the independent tribunal.

If you find yourself in a dispute with the New South Wales government about your building licence, there may be a host of options for you to take to challenge a government decision.  Watson and Watson Solicitors have experience in the law about government decisions and licences, and can assist you with advice on challenging building licence decisions.  Feel free to contact our office if you have a problem with your building licence and are concerned to find out what options are available to you.  We can provide advice, prepare legal submissions and material in support and assist you with challenges to attempt to keep or maintain your building licence.  

Please do not hesitate to contact Richard Watson an experienced Solicitor with in excess of 25 years in the area of building and construction who would be able to assist you should you have any issues in relation to a Builder’s Licence.

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