The first of the insulation installers to be deregistered from the Government’s Home Insulation Program have been listed this week on a public website.
The move comes as pressure has been put on the Government to tackle non-compliance with the insulation program requirements because three young insulators have died in separate incidents since the program began.
“The consequences of dodgy behaviour for insulation businesses just got a lot tougher,” said Environment Minister Peter Garrett on Wednesday. “There’s no room in this program for businesses who aren’t willing to stand publicly by the quality of their work and who tarnish the work of reputable, hardworking installation businesses.”
Many people, however, have blamed the Government for not imposing tighter regulations from the outset.
One insulator who set up his business when the program was announced by the Government in July said that it was really easy to set up an insulation business and cash in on the huge profits that the Government was offering. “You can do courses on line," he said. “All you needed to do was a course which was basically two half-day courses,” said the registered insulator. “This course didn’t include any practical training. It was supposed to, but it never eventuated.”
This course, along with the usual public liability and workers' compensation cover was all he said he needed to get started and start insulating houses.
“After two weeks I was issued with my registration pack and work order forms and information about the scheme,” he said.
Among the changes to the scheme that commenced this week are that installers must get at least two independent quotes which are based on a physical site inspection before proceeding to have insulation installed. When the program commenced just one quote was needed.
“At that time there was only one quote required so you could just rock up to any house and insulate there and then,” said the insulator. “Also, the actual insulators themselves don’t need to have done the insulation course, just the person signing off on the job.”
He continued to say that the safety guidelines that have been set out aren’t being followed by many insulation companies which have set up since the scheme began.
“You are supposed to do a job safety analysis and write down how you’re going to deal with any potential safety issues,” he said. “But it’s not being done because it’s not being monitored.
“There is a massive cash grab going on and a massive rush to get as many houses [as possible] done before the scheme runs out,” he said. “Unfortunately, due to the nature of the scheme and the potential profits, it leads to many cowboy operations and, consequently, tragic incidents like what happened to the three young insulators.”
The Government has urged householders to shop around until they find a registered installer they’re happy with and to ensure they’re choosing the right product and installation options for their circumstances.
They have also urged householders to only sign the work order form when they are satisfied with the work that has been done.
The problem though, according to the insulator, is that the Government is paying out on these schemes very quickly so sometimes insulators aren’t audited until months after they’ve been paid, and by then they may be unable to be contacted .