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Accreditation is common in many industries in Australia, it's basically a huge racket. To legally do any wiring work at all it must be done by an accredited electrician, not merely inspected by one as in most countries. in fact most home improvements of any kind must be performed by an accredited tradesman. add to this the laws that state any home improvement must bring the entire house up to current building codes, it's a recipe for massive expenses that go straight into the pockets accredited tradesman.

This essentially prevents any person that owns older property from doing any upgrades, or major repairs at all, because the massive cost of upgrading the entire house at once is completely out of reach for most people. this leads to urban decay and property abandonment on a massive scale.

with the recent push by parties such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google to have registered developer programs complete with code signing, be very wary of industry wide pushes to introduce a similar thing for programmers. The IEEE has attempted to introduce the idea for years. you can be sure that soon after introduction laws forcing accreditation for many types of positions would shortly follow, as would subsequent rises in membership fees and requirements.

Not to mention the threat of only a certified developer being able to legally write code at all. this situation already exists in many engineering disciplines. with things like secure boot and locked bootloaders and signed code, it is almost a technical triviality.

want to know how general purpose computing will be killed? it will be via initiatives such as this.




> laws that state any home improvement must bring the entire house up to current building codes

This is patently false

> this leads to urban decay and property abandonment on a massive scale

Australia does not have property abandonment nor urban decay on a massive scale. Go to Detroit to witness such things.

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10.2% (2011 census data) of Australian properties are sitting there vacant.

[ http://blog.id.com.au/2012/australian-census-2011/the-where-... ]

And there is certainly urban decay all over the city I live in (Perth).

Also, building codes are local government, aren't they? So it depends on what council you are in. And I've certainly heard some bad stories.

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As your link itself explains, the vast majority of those vacant properties are either a) holiday homes that are empty outside vacation season, or b) "areas with declining population where dwellings are simply abandoned by owners who can’t sell their property". Vacancy rates in major cities are remarkably low.

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it may not be a big problem at present, as there is a huge real estate boom in Australia. But when there is an economic downturn these regulations are going to hit older areas extremely hard, just like they have in many other nations.

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Property values in Australia declined by 4.5% last year. Forecasts are for around 5% growth this year in my city (Brisbane), but continued declining prices in Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide.

Huge real estate boom fizzled at the end of '09 / early 2010.

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So, what they need is, oh I don't know, maybe lots of immigrants looking for a house?

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it may not be a big problem at present, as there is a huge real estate boom in Australia

DANGER WILL ROBINSON! A property boom has wrecked several countries. Australia could be hit by that.

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From the linked article:

> While dwellings are vacant for a number of reasons they are primarily associated with holiday areas

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Seems inner city Sydney is a 'holiday area'.

[ http://australianpropertyforum.com/blog/main/3204321 ]

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Only one or two of the suburbs listed are actually considered inner city.

As someone who does live in the inner-city of Sydney and pay $3100USD/month for a shoebox. I would be incredulous if there were a large amount of vacancies beyond normal turnover.

There are usually bidding wars for property sales (most inner-city properties are sold by auction) and dozens of applications for rentals.

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I've lived in the inner-west all my life & I know 5 or so squatters. Yep. There are vacant buildings everywhere you probably just don't know it. There's a whole world outside the market & we need to encourage this sort of thing, or else a city becomes locked into mortgages with little job flexibility. The ability to live cheaply in a city is very important. High costs to maintain a basic lifestyle mean less risk taken, less businesses started, less innovation, less arts. In total contrast to Sydney is Berlin: high unemployment, very low cost of living, tons of start-ups, tons of arts.

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I'm also from Perth, but I don't see urban decay "all over the city". The worst (and only) place I probably had the feeling of some urban decay was Ellenbrook.

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1. People stay with other people overnight.

2. New buildings are unoccupied, sometimes for months.

A more useful measure is rental vacancy rates. The Australian average is 2.3%, which is pretty close to "none" in practical terms.

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Those rates are voluntarily self-reported by rental property managers - there's a fairly clear conflict of interest.

According to the following Melbourne has a 5.9% vacancy rate. They use water usage data from the water companies for their analysis. (<50L/day = vacant property)

http://www.earthsharing.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Philip_Soo...

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What's the conflict of interest?

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Vacancy rate is basically a property manager's KPI. Additionally, data is collected by the REIV which has no interest in providing bad news about investing in property. https://s.zoomerang.com/s/REIV-January-2013-Vacancy-Survey

REIV vacancy rate is (unleased property on the books) / (property on the books). It's always going to be an under-estimate of true vacancy due to properties that are empty full time and those that are privately managed and temporarily vacant.

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the laws stating the building code requirement for upgrades are not implemented at a federal level, however many cities (such as brisbane) do have such requirements.

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Rent control is usually one cause of urban blight. We don't have that in Australia.

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Rent control may have been a factor in many major American cities, but it is far from the only contributor. Australian cities currently have many of the same structural problems that lead to these issues in American cities in the sixties seventies and eighties.

Suburbanization tied with ridgid regulations that make property development or improvement extremely costly lead to a downward spiral in property values, which means of obtaining loans insurance or other guarantees becomes nearly impossible, meaning even less redevelopment, more decay, and more crime, accelerating further suburbanization.

this feedback loop decimate inner cities.

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Downward spiral in property prices?

I take it you haven't been to Perth lately?

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Or Darwin.

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> rent control may have been a factor in many major American cities, but it is far from the only contributor.

Right. Hence why I said "one cause".

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> To legally do any wiring work at all it must be done by an accredited electrician, not merely inspected by one as in most countries.

That's what the various bodies would like you to think, as making things black and white makes their life easier, and keeps them friendly with the various trade organisations.

I gather it is now legal for a professional electrical engineer to do their own wiring in Queensland, just they can't do it for third parties. By my reading, it is also generally okay for anyone to work on an "extra low voltage circuit", meaning less than 50Vac or 120Vdc. At the same time, the various energy authorities will claim it is illegal to install your own solar panels, and their publicity material says you can't do any wiring. The actual law seems to say you can DIY, just that you would need an electrician to connect the 240Vac side of an inverter to the main.

Workcover applies an additional layer of regulation in industrial situations. There also seems to be a requirement for an electrician to do solar work to qualify for various green rebates, despite the electricity regulations saying its okay.

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You mean like this ... in Malaysia they've drafted a bill to require certification for anyone to be able to work in IT ...

http://uppercaise.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/new-law-puts-noos...

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When accreditation becomes more about permission than proficiency, you'll get corruption instead of competence.

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> To legally do any wiring work at all it must be done by an accredited electrician, not merely inspected by one as in most countries.

And contract electricians cost upwards of $80/hour, making replacing a light fitting prohibitively expensive.

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Which is why many houses now have GPOs (power points) in the ceiling space, and the light fittings are appliances plugged into the GPO, rather than permanently installed. Domestically, it is legal to work on things that are not permanently wired in, the main constraint being that you should follow good practice, so you don't kill someone.

I'm surprised that a keen DIYer hasn't tried using a 3-phase 32A plug to plug their house into the mains, and claim the entire house is an appliance.

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Oh wow .. I wonder if I could convince an electrician to put a massive plug and socket in my meter box ..

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Unlikely :-) That final comment was tongue in cheek. It would make an interesting argument, but I suspect the house wiring would still be viewed as "fixed", despite the plug.

My gut feeling is that the law doesn't really achieve much, past a level of discouragement via FUD, since it's pretty well unenforceable. Electricians are supposed to write out "compliance certificates" for any work done, but I gather an awful lot don't. Even then, unless the work impacts the external connection, the only copy of the certificate resides with the home owner. I imagine an awful lot of people file it under the sofa, or in the garbage bin. As far as I know, there is no central record of a house's wiring configuration. Practically, the only way of telling that a job wasn't done by an electrician is that the job is really bad (and dangerous), or of a standard that significantly exceeds that achieved by a typical electrician.

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Just wait till the property market collapses, like in other countries. Prices for skilled tradespeople will fall.

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NPRs Planet Money did a podcast along these lines - "Why It's Illegal To Braid Hair Without A License":

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/06/22/155596305/episode-...

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