Law targets 'cowboy' builders

By Lydia Anderson

1 comment
Soon all building work valued at more than $30,000 will require a written contract.Photo/File
Soon all building work valued at more than $30,000 will require a written contract.Photo/File

Hawke's Bay builders have six months to get up to speed with a new law to protect consumers from "cowboys only interested in making a quick buck".

From January 1, builders will be required to have written contracts, provide information on their relevant skills, experience and qualifications, and disclose their insurance and warranty cover for residential building work valued at more than $30,000.

Instant $500 fines could be issued for non-compliance.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith announced the legislation, saying while it was encouraging to see building activity reach its highest rate in a decade, it was important to protect consumers against inferior building work.

Hawke's Bay residential building consents are up on last year, with 386 issued in the year to June 2014 at an average value of $318,903, up from 368 in 2013 at an average value of $302,685, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Consents for alterations are up on last year, with 1134 at an average value of $34,038, up from 967 at an average value of $34,974.

A1 Homes Hawke's Bay owner Rob Fargher said his firm already abided by the requirements.

"To me everyone should have a contract for their build."

A home owner should not enter into a building negotiation without a contract, he said.

"Those are the horror stories you hear from one-man-band things that aren't really teed up to be doing what they should be doing."

Dr Smith last week said the new requirements would reinforce the good practice of many building repairers while "constraining cowboys only interested in making a quick buck".

"We need to improve how building work is contracted in New Zealand to ensure better quality work, improved affordability and fewer disputes," he said.

"We need to replace a 'she'll be right' with a 'doing it right' culture, with increased professionalism, open disclosure and clear expectations about what work is to be done, at what price and in what timeframe."

The legislation is part of a wider programme of regulations introduced in the wake of the leaky buildings problem and the Canterbury earthquakes. APNZ

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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