Proposed laws designed to hold company directors accountable for building defects would be among the "most draconian in the country", a peak construction industry group has claimed.
The Master Builders Association has also lashed the ACT government for not seeking industry feedback on the proposal before it was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
The Canberra Liberals also expressed concerns about a lack of consultation, as they voted with the Greens to refer the legislation to a parliamentary committee for further scrutiny.
The centrepiece of the government's bill is a proposal to make directors of construction companies personally liable for financial penalties and orders to fix building defects.
The government has a range of tools to punish trade professionals, including stripping them of their licences.
But its powers to hold construction company directors to account is far more limited.
On Thursday, Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay again drew attention to the practice of company directors deliberately winding up their businesses to avoid paying fines or fixing defects.
The laws would also hand Access Canberra the power to force companies to fix defects via "enforceable undertakings".
The regulator would also provide more information to the public when it shuts down a construction site.
Mr Ramsay said the suite of measures responded to the community's calls for the government to clean up the territory's construction sector.
"We have listened to the community and we are making changes," Mr Ramsay said.
"Changes to protect the community from dodgy builders. Changes to increase the amount of information available to the consumers. Changes to hold builders to account."
Mr Ramsay announced his intention to bring forward laws targeting company directors during evidence to the Assembly's building quality inquiry in early September.
But it wasn't until the legislation was introduced on Thursday morning that specific details became public.
Once they did, the Master Builders Association of the ACT responded quickly and angrily.
The industry group's chief executive, Michael Hopkins, said the director liability laws would represent "one of the most draconian building laws in the country" if they passed.
Mr Hopkins said laws already existed to punish licensed builders and construction companies.
"Introducing new laws will amount to nothing, if government fails to enforce the powers they already have," he said.
Mr Hopkins also lambasted the government for pursuing the novel laws, less than 100 days after state and territory building ministers, including Mr Ramsay, agreed to purse a nationally-consistent approach to building regulation.
Mr Hopkins said the group had been "blindsided" by Mr Ramsay, who he claimed had not consulted with industry and key stakeholders before introducing the legislation.
"It is disappointing that the Minister has prioritised politics over genuine industry reform and failed to engage with his key stakeholders," he said.
"Failing to engage with key stakeholders on major reforms never produces optimal results."
In a statement to The Canberra Times, Mr Ramsay was unapologetic about the government's approach.
"I've said time and time again that we cannot rely on industry to reform industry," he said.
"I make no apology for protecting Canberrans from dodgy operators who use sophisticated corporate structures to avoid their obligations to fix faulty work."
It is not the first time the construction industry has clashed with Mr Ramsay over an apparent lack of consultation on a key reform.
In May, Mr Ramsay was heavily criticised for not speaking with industry leaders before moving to delay the adoption of national construction standards. He eventually reversed that decision.
Opposition business and employment spokesman Andrew Wall said it was "essential" that the legislation was subject to more scrutiny.
"There has been a complete lack of consultation with industry prior to this proposal and these changes were not part of the building regulatory reform regulations that the Government has accepted," Mr Wall said.
Mr Wall said it needed to make sure the laws did not contravene Commonwealth corporation laws.
The committee is required to report back by the sitting period at the end of November.
It is unlikely to significantly delay debate on the bill.