Construction sector helped by Reward

THE approval of a third player to supply housing indemnity insurance to WA builders is set to take a big load of the State’s construction sector.

The collapse of insurance giant HIH has held up hundreds of projects and builders have been queueing for weeks to secure the necessary insurance from an approved supplier.

Queensland company Reward Insurance Ltd, through Savill Hicks Corp, is now issuing home indemnity insurance certificates, which must be secured by builders before they start any kind of work.

Consumer Affairs Minister John Kobelke welcomed the entry of a third supplier and said it would ensure the compulsory insurance was more readily available.

Savill Hicks managing director Stefan Hicks said waiting times would be reduced significantly, to about six working days initially and to less than four once the backlog was cleared.

The entry of Savill Hicks into the housing indemnity insurance market comes at a time when it is most likely to be in strong demand. The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate a surge in building approvals in recent months.

ABS figures show $320 million worth of building works were approved in May, including approvals for 1234 private dwellings.

Housing Industry Association WA executive director John Dastlik said the figures were confirmation that the industry had weathered the HIH cyclone and post-GST slump and was back on track, helped along by the First Home Owners Grant scheme.

“The future is certainly looking brighter for the nation’s new home builders, with interest rates low and the revised grant obviously having an effect,” Mr Dastlik said.

“The main focus is on ensuring a smooth transition once the revised grant ceases at the end of this year.”

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