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Make Or Break Decision Expected From BIA

Make Or Break Decision Expected From BIA

The Building Industry Authority will decide the fate of the country’s independent certifiers in the next few days when it rejects or accepts a weather-tightness insurance clause initiated by Manukau City Council on behalf of private certifiers.

Building certifiers are required to have insurance that meets the BIA’s standards before they are approved as certifiers. The recent insertion of strict new exemptions into policies by insurance companies meant the BIA would no longer renew independent certifiers’ licences as they came up for renewal.

A1 Certifiers, the first casualty who were forced to close their doors last month, approached Council for help along with other certifiers after being told by the BIA they could no longer continue to inspect buildings. Under the Building Act, Councils must pick up any work handed to them by certifiers or individuals.

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis immediately set up and chaired a working group to find a solution. The working group is made up of senior council staff across the region, independent building certifiers, the Master Builders Association and the President of the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand.

“Having independent certifiers go under one by one will cripple the building industry. All building work would reasonably be expected to slow down or stop,” he said.

“Given such a dire outlook this is the first time to my knowledge that all players in this fiercely competitive industry have put all their cards on the table in an effort to find an immediate solution.

“What the group has proposed is an exemption clause for insertion into insurance policies that would reassure the BIA and insurance companies while continuing to allow certifiers to operate effectively, “ said Sir Barry.

Sir Barry met with the BIA Chairperson and Chief Executive, and the Minister of Internal Affairs George Hawkins, over the last few weeks to advise them of the seriousness of the situation. Sir Barry will be speaking at the Select Committee on weather-tightness issues, to be held in Mangere on Friday 8 November, to ensure the certifiers’ situation is represented.

Bevan Smith, Director of Professional Building Certifiers based in Manukau, says if it wasn’t for Sir Barry intervening on their behalf the consequences would have been disastrous.

“The BIA’s decision will hopefully allow us to continue to work while long-term solutions can be found. It’s positive that the industry has had such a massive wake-up call but having a lot of small companies like ours forced out of business through no fault of our own is not the way forward, “ said Mr Smith.

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