Updated iCare Eligibility Manual

From 1 November 2023, iCare HBCF rolled out an updated Eligibility Manual (EM v11.2) The revamped manual aims to further simplify and streamline the eligibility assessment process. 

What’s changing?

The updated Eligibility Manual is designed to enhance your experience, making eligibility assessments more accurate, efficient and transparent. Some of the key changes include:

Enhancements to Automated (Builder) Scorecard Review (ASR)

  • Assessment requirements for Automated Scorecard Review (ASR), including HBCF proactively putting builders through ASR as their COE expiry approaches
  • Increase in Open Job Values (OJV) for System Reviewed Builders (s10.1):
    • Tier 1 – $1 million to $3 million OJV
    • Tier 2 – $3-$5 million increasing to $3.5-$6 million OJV
  • Increase in standard Construction Profiles for Builders, with an aim to assist Builders in undertaking higher-value projects and reduce the need to undertake a Builder Profile Change (BPC) (s10.3)
  • Minor adjustment of the Eligibility score range to align with increased OJV and Construction Profiles (s19.5.2 & 19.5.4)
  • The eligibility limit reduction cap of 30% is now expanded to include all eligible builders undergoing their first ASR assessment (s19.5.4)
  • Clearer guidance for builders wishing to transition from T1 to T2, & from T2 to Medium (s11.2, 11.3 & 19.3)

Reducing information requests – making the complex simple

  • Reduction in mandatory information requirements for manual reviews (s11)
  • Updated the grace period allowance for builders subject to reviews (s19.1)
  • Clarity on the treatment of ‘Discretionary Trust’ and ‘off-balance sheet liabilities’ for ANTA calculation purposes, providing more transparency and understanding (s14.1.1 & 14.3)

Supporting Residential Builders in New South Wales and meeting regulatory requirements

  • For builders facing difficult conditions, iCare HBCF will offer continued support, by providing guidance on insurance applications for retrospective cover for builders who maintain ongoing eligibility under the provisions of s18.2
  • Updated the definition of Business Closure to exclude Builder’s voluntary Deregistration and Members’ voluntary Liquidation. This update ensures that Builders’ eligibility may not be adversely impacted when they deregister their business through normal members’ voluntary liquidation (s29)
  • In line with New South Wales Fair Trading Licensing practices, the updated EM clarifies that if a company holds a license but operates its business through a discretionary trust, eligibility will be assessed based on the financial information of the company holding the license (Trustee) (s5). iCare HBCF have also updated the ANTA discounting policy in relation to discretionary trusts (Table 8). As this change may impact some Builders, iCare HBCF, are allowing the Builders to have a transition period via s18.2 if a builder is unable to transition immediately.

Other Minor Adjustments to improve service levels

  • Builder size classification for Medium and Major Builders increasing (s10.1):
    • Medium Builders – >$5-10 million increasing to >$6 -<$12 million OJV
    • Major Builders – ≥ $10 million increasing to ≥ $12 million OJV
  • Further clarity regarding the processing of contract variations (s20.5)
  • All Certificate referrals will need to include a signed copy of the contract (s20.8)
  • Further clarity regarding subsequent applications involving the same parties on the same site (s20.9.5)
  • Updates to premium discounts are introduced for Builders participating in the BCRP program (s22.4)

Builders with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) due to expire

Over the coming months, a number of builders will face their COE expiring for the first time since the ASR process was launched in July 2022. 

Most builders facing COE expiry will be eligible for the simplified ASR process, which reduces documentation requirements and speeds up the renewal process. HBCF will proactively assess affected builders through the ASR process before their COE expires. HBCF will assess builders based on their existing approved OJV, with subsequent ASRs being assessed based on the builder’s requested OJV. 

For ASR-eligible builders:

  • Builders with existing approved OJV up to $3 million will undergo a Tier 1 System Reviewed Builders assessment for eligibility determination.
  • Builders with existing OJV greater than $3 million but less than or equal to $5 million will undergo a Tier 2 System Reviewed Builders assessment.

On successful completion of the ASR, a new Certificate of Eligibility will be issued, and ASR-eligible builders won’t need to take any further action for COE renewal.

For non-ASR-eligible builders:

Builder Eligibility Assessment Tool (BEAT) notifications will be sent, requesting documentation for a full financial review. 

If you have any questions on how any of these changes might impact you, you can email us at team@hbwsolutions.com.au or call us on 02 8075 0975.