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NSW site signage and advertising requirements

Various laws identifying what details need to be on site signage and contractor advertising in NSW.

In NSW, various laws determine what details are required to be displayed on site signs for residential building work, as well as details when advertising your business services.

When do I need a site sign?

The principal contractor is required to erect a sign when performing work on a residential site, such as the construction of a new dwelling, garage or an in-ground swimming pool or alterations and additions to existing dwellings where a development consent l is required.

You do not need to erect signs for your work if you contract to do work that has been authorised by an owner-builder permit or if you are a subcontractor who has entered into a contract with a principal contractor.

What details do I need on my sign(s)?

Licence details

The Home Building Regulation requires the following information be displayed on a site sign:

  • the name of the licensee as shown on the contractor licence;
  • the words ‘licenced contractor’ or words to that effect; and
  • the number of the contractor licence held by the licensee.

A maximum penalty of $1,100 for an individual or $2,200 for a company can be imposed for failing to erect signage with the above details.

WHS: Principal contractor

In addition, for jobs of $250,000 or over, work health and safety (WHS) laws require site signage to show:

  • the number and contact numbers (including an after-hours emergency contact) for the principal contractor;
  • the location of the site office for the project, if any, and;
  • is clearly visible from outside the workplace, or the work area of the workplace, where the construction project is being undertaken.

Failure to meet WHS site signage requirements can result in a maximum penalty of $4,400 for an individual or $23,100 for a company.

Certifier details

Where a principal certifier needs to be appointed to a job, a site sign must:

  • detail the name and contact details of the certifier, be it council or a registered certifier, including after-hours contact details;
  • be displayed in a prominent position on the site;
  • include a statement to the effect that ‘unauthorised entry to the work site is prohibited’; and
  • be maintained until the works are completed.

Do I need separate signs?

No, all the details can be displayed on the one sign. However, the sign should be visible and durable and maintained throughout the duration of the building work. HIA Stationery has a range of signage available for use by members, including a single sign that meets all the requirements detailed above.

What about non-residential sites?

Planning and WHS laws require site signs to be erected for most types of building work, including commercial building work, subdivisions, and demolition work. Check with the relevant authorities if you are unsure whether the work you are doing requires a sign to be erected, or simply erect a sign to be on the safe side.

Business advertising

A licence holder (builder or a contractor) who advertises their services in relation to residential building work or specialist work must ensure the following details are included in the advertisement:

  • the licence holder’s name,
  • the licence number; and
  • business telephone number.

You must include these details regardless of where your advertisement is placed, e.g. print, radio, television, internet, social media, or on a vehicle.

A maximum penalty of $1,100 for an individual and $2,200 for a company can be imposed for failing to include these details in your advertising.

False or misleading advertising

Under Australian Consumer Law, it is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses. This means you cannot make statements or representations that are not true or are likely to mislead a customer or conceal a material fact. For example, it would be misleading if you held yourself out to be a builder and able to construct a house when in fact you only hold a carpentry licence.

You cannot rely on small or fine print as an excuse for a misleading message. Any qualifying conditions about your services needs to be clear and prominent so the consumer has all the relevant information they need to make an informed decision.

To find out more, contact HIA's Contracts and Compliance team

Email us

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