For the past nine months the ACT government has received an average of 20 complaints each week regarding building and planning problems in the territory.
With three months remaining in the financial year, the numbers already represent a 40 per cent increase on last year's figures.
Since July 1, 2017 there have been 728 complaints made to Access Canberra in relation to building and planning issues, compared with 525 in 2016-17 and 513 in 2015-16.
Peak industry body the Master Builders ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said he's hearing more and more complaints and concerns about the quality of building work in the territory, and reforms to address consumer protection were "long overdue".
Housing Industry Association ACT executive director Greg Weller called on the government to implement better dispute resolution mechanisms, going as far as to recommend a specific body to deal with building-related complaints.
Despite the number of complaints, the ACT's Construction Occupations Registrar said the industry was operating "effectively enough".
An Access Canberra spokeswoman said the increase "may not correlate directly with increases in concerns, rather improvements in how the information is captured".
The spokeswoman said common areas of concern relate to unapproved structures, the compliance and quality of building work, and incomplete work.
"Common issues raised by the community in the planning space including reports of unapproved structures and concerns around lease or development approval variances," she said.
"In building, topics logged as an enquiry or complaint are around concerns that building works may not be compliant, the quality of works, concerns structures may not be approved, safety issues, non-completion of works, defects or warranties," the spokeswoman said.
'While these are the topics which may have been logged, it does not mean that in all cases the concerns are founded."
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The spokeswoman backed the complaints system and said it was working as intended in the territory.
"There is no one size fits all when it comes to such matters as each has individual circumstances and complexities," the spokeswoman said.
"Due to the nature of building work, what the issue is may determine what support can be provided.
"Consumers should take a keen and active interest in building works undertaken and where they sense things may not be going to plan contact Access Canberra."
Constructions Occupations registrar Craig Simmons said the industry was working "effectively enough for us but there are tweaks to the system that will improve things".
"It's an industry that is incredibly dynamic with new products and new techniques coming in all the time," Mr Simmons said.
He said changes would be incremental in working their way through the system because "the building code is designed to allow for innovation".
Mr Simmons said each complaint about the industry was worked through individually because of the complexities around differing types of legislation that covered consumers.
"They're often made more difficult [because] we need to see what's in there, what's in the statutory framework and what sits in the contractual relationship that has been established."
He said unlike other states, his role was broader as it covered not only building and construction but the licensed trades that go hand in hand with that, including plumbing and electricity.
"It's largely a function of our size that puts all the occupations together," Mr Simmons said.
"The breadth of the remit means we have more regular contact with what's going on."
Mr Simmons defended the majority of those in the industry, saying it took all sorts to make up one of the biggest industries in the territory.
"There is a full scope of people in the industry, we have really high quality experienced and excellent builders in the territory, at the other end of that, they probably aren't as good as we want them to be. When we find those ones, we work with them to improve their capacity or remove them from the industry."
He said they find the low-quality builders through the Access Canberra complaints process.
But Mr Simmons admitted taking away a builder's licence was complicated.
"Sometimes there are licences where people simply don't renew, sometimes that's because they've decided, through our intervention, that it's not worthwhile to continue. Sometimes licences can move into suspension if they become bankrupt.
"The cancelling of licenses in the building side of things has to happen through a statutory process, it's much more rare than for some of the other occupations."
He said education of the standards of work required was the priority, rather than removing a licence.
Master Builders ACT chief executive Michael Hopkins said licenses needed to be implemented for all trade contractors not just electricians and plumbers, and ongoing training needed to be mandatory.
"If there's a problem with a builder at one point in time, that's picked up and the licence isn't automatically renewed year on year. There should be extra training put in place for builders, or if it's needed to address a particular area of weakness. If there is a trend of safety breaches, there should be targeted training before their licence is renewed."
He said the MBA had called on the government to better resource Access Canberra to help deal with the complaints that were coming in.
"In our MBA Budget submission for the 2018-19 Budget we did call on the government to provide more resources in Access Canberra," he said.
"We've called for them to make sure that the resources provided in that area are increased in line with a growing Canberra and more building activity in the territory."
He said the MBA would continue to lobby for increased consumer protection in the ACT, saying the reforms to address this and building quality were "long overdue".
"However, Master Builders is not the building regulator. It is important that consumers or contractors that have disputes deal directly with the ACT government's independent building regulator, Access Canberra," he said.
Housing Industry Association southern NSW and ACT executive director Greg Weller said while he wasn't seeing an increase in complaints overall compared with amount of building being undertaken, there were specific parts of the industry that weren't working.
He said licensing was a particular area that should be looked at.
"We do take a soft approach to licensing in the ACT."
Mr Weller said HIA would like to see an expanded licensing program to include other trades and people dealing with the public.
He said another area for improvement was dispute resolution.
"We do have a strong regime of protection for consumers with the building act in the ACT but we would argue for improved dispute resolution procedures rather than heading to a tribunal," Mr Weller said.
"We could consider looking at specific tribunal, a specific jurisdiction for building-related complaints."