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New DIY rules aimed at eliminating building rogues

24 April 2008

New DIY rules aimed at eliminating building rogues

Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones today announced new guidelines for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home owner-builders aimed at eliminating rogues in the building sector.

Speaking at the opening of Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF) annual conference in Wellington Mr Jones told delegates that by introducing the new rules he also wanted to ensure the traditional Kiwi DIY spirit is not crushed, even when the Licensed Builder Practioner (LBP) scheme becomes compulsory in 2010.

Mr Jones said DIYers who wanted to qualify for an owner-builder exemption will need to meet the following criteria:

- The DIYer must be an individual and the owner of the land on which the building work is to be carried out.

- The DIYer will have to sign a statutory declaration stating that the new building is to be their home.

- The implied warranties in the Building Act that apply to builders will be extended to apply to DIYers

- Council records will show that the work was done by a DIYer.

He also paid tribute to his predecessor Clayton Cosgrove for introducing the LBP scheme last November, adding that had now been well progressed with today’s announcements.

“The devil is in the detail, and today we have been able to provide that detail by defining what owner-builders can do and what ‘restricted work’ means for home builders. This should close the potential loophole between recognised licensed builders and rogues pretending to be DIYers,” Mr Jones said.

“Restricted work does not apply to all building work, only the elements of a building that are critical for the building’s integrity such as: managing moisture content, ensuring a robust and reliable structural framework and the ability to contain fire from spreading in these homes.

“Ultimately the integrity of our building and construction industry will be upheld by the quality of work and, the assurance that we can give to consumers and professionals alike.”

Mr Jones said if DIYers chose not to use a licensed builder for restricted or specified work they would face the same liability as that which will apply to licensed builders.

Under the new LBP scheme there will be greater accountability through the Licensed Building Practioners Board which will be empowered to investigate complaints, take action against an LBP -- including direction for further training, the imposition of a fine or the cancelling of a licence. An online register will also include details of disciplinary action against the offending LBP.

“We have come up with a solution in relation to DIYers and that is for them to face exactly the same liability for their work as licensed builders if they choose not to use a LBP to complete certain specified or restricted work,” Mr Jones said.

He added, one way of making sure that people who were looking to buy a new home were presented with reliable and accurate information was by making it compulsory for vendors to inform that an unlicensed person did the restricted work through notification on the LIM or title.


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