The concerns have been mounting around the quality of imported building products with volumes expected to increase following sign off on the China free trade agreement. There have already been instances with very severe consequences and the risk of lives lost, that have been directly related to building materials not meeting our local safety standards so it is a serious issue.
Ignoring the argument of what cost this may add to construction, I agree that we need some form of regulator here and so far no government agency has put up its hand to do so.
But the regulator must not only set the standards, but police those imported goods that claim to meet our minimum specifications, are in fact doing so.
I'm aware of construction companies that are in the practice of importing their building materials who now wear the cost of having their own "quality control staff" posted full time in the places of manufacture to ensure that the local contractors are adhering to the safety standards.
An important question now needs to be asked: is it time to establish a federal regulator who would be charged with the responsibility of accrediting imported building product that is deemed, once approved, suitable for the antipodean building industry? Currently there is a flood of imported material washing onto antipodean shores, without any regulator equipped with either the resources or the legal power to determine whether imported product is fit for purpose. Is it too much to ask to have in place a regime that dictates that any imported building material or building system be analysed and tested by appropriate laboratories to determine whether it is fit for the Australasian market and ultimately public consumption? Time could well be of the essence here because the free trade agreements with China