Editorial: Death of cowboys, not DIY

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Looking for a new home can be exciting.

I have looked at dozens throughout my lifetime and have clear memories of going to some wonderful properties and wondering which one might be my next home.

But this exercise can also be one of the most stressful.

I found buying a home in Rotorua particularly difficult and came across many that had all sorts of problems, including dodgy alterations and DIY work that did not have the required paperwork.

There was one property that my wife and I put an offer in on only to discover upon a building inspection it had leaky structural problems.

Substandard building has had a bright spotlight on it for the past decade with the costly and damaging leaky buildings saga shaking the country's building industry and leaving many homeowners shattered and out of pocket. It is estimated the leaky buildings saga could cost New Zealand around $11 billion.

It is heartbreaking to read stories of people being left with a mess all because whoever did the work was not up to standard.

So, given all this, I welcome tough new rules around builders and those who indulge in DIY.

The changes to the Building Act, introduced yesterday, mean structural work, including roofing and cladding, will be restricted to licensed professionals.

It is now an offence to hire someone who is unlicensed, unless they have a council exemption.

Licensed building practitioners include designers, carpenters, roofers, external plasterers, brick and blocklayers and foundations specialists.

These experts can do the work themselves or supervise others.

Residents and builders spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times also welcome the changes.

Like with most changes, there are some downsides.

DIY is a proud tradition in this country. I admire anyone who can renovate their home and hope it doesn't put off anyone who wants to stamp their own mark on their home and save money.

It is important these people learn the law and find out what they can and can't do.

There is also the potential licensed practitioners will charge more for their work.

Fair enough. If they have the qualifications, they should be able to sell their labour for a higher price.

At least their work should be of high quality.

These new rules should help weed out dodgy cowboys, make homes safer, and buying and selling them a cleaner process.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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