Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Builders pushing back on reforms

Builders want to be able to check homeowners' credit records before signing a contract as an increasing number of people seeking homes or renovations are refusing to pay once construction work has been finished.

As part of building law reforms, builders will have to provide upfront disclosure statements on their qualifications, track record, skills and licence status.

But a major building association feels the legislation tilts the law too heavily in favour of the consumer, and it wants a financial disclosure from buyers before committing to a construction contract.

Certified Builders' Association of New Zealand chief Grant Florence said an increasing number of homeowners were refusing to pay builders their final account, because they wanted to negotiate a lower price, because they had run out of money, or as a protest against work they felt was substandard.

A survey by the Master Builders' Association published last week found half of builders had not been paid by a customer at least once in the past five years - at a cost of $225 million to the industry.

The Building Amendment Bill targets construction "cowboys" by making builders more accountable and by increasing fines for jobs done without proper paperwork.

* Any building jobs over $20,000 will require a written contract.
* Building contractors have to provide disclosure statements on their qualifications, track record, skills and licence status.
* Principal building contractors must fix defects within 12 months.
* Maximum penalty for building consents raised to $200,000.
* New powers for local authorities to deal with non-dangerous buildings close to dangerous buildings.

- NZ Herald

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