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New Residential Building Law Effective 1 Jan 2015

New Residential Building Law Effective 1 Jan 2015
For release: Immediately
Date: 30 December 2014

In a move to protect homeowners, the Government will from the start of 2015, require builders to keep and produce written records of any residential work valued at over $30,000.

Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith announced earlier in July that from January 1, 2015 builders would need to keep a written contract (with specific clauses around warranties, dispute resolution, remedies); a checklist for consumers with tips on engaging builders and managing the project; and mandatory disclosure of information by building contractors (business information, key contacts and their role and qualifications, insurance cover held, warranties offered) for any jobs priced at over $30,000.

Dr Smith said the changes were an effort to "improve how building work is contracted in New Zealand to ensure better quality work, improved affordability and fewer disputes".

"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."

Builderscrack.co.nz co-owner Jeremy Wyn-Harris supports the changes and said his business had been providing a way for homeowners and tradespeople to keep a written record of all contacts and agreements for jobs of any value since 2007.

The Christchurch-based web business provides an online meeting place for homeowners seeking tradespeople. All communication and quotes are stored securely online.

A written record of all correspondence meant both parties avoids confusion and any disputes that arise can be more easily settled, Wyn-Harris said.

"When there's thousands of dollars and someone's home on the line, you need more than a handshake to seal a deal.

"Having a log of all communication and contracts agreed upon is invaluable," he said.

A homeowner from Auckland who uses Builderscrack.co.nz's to find tra despeople said "seems to keep tradesmen on their toes regarding communication - which is so often a problem with even the best tradesmen. [It's] good to have a record of all the ongoing correspondence," he said.

The new requirements were approved by Cabinet in July and were made under Part 4A of the Building Act amendments made in 2013. Instant fines of $500 would be applied for failing to comply.

ENDS

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