Before you build or renovate, read this – How changes to the Building Act impact consumers

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From 1 March 2012, changes to the Building Act 2004 means that critical building work, known as Restricted Building Work, must be completed by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP). This change was made to encourage better building design and construction, following the fallout of the leaky homes crisis.

Most industry observers are aware of the change but it is important that you understand the implications for hiring contractors. Builders, designers and trades people must now be licensed to design, carry out, or supervise, work on homes and small-medium sized apartments.

The restricted building work applies to, but is not limited to:         

  • Foundations
  • Framing
  • Roofing
  • Cladding
  • Active fire safety systems in small-medium sized apartment buildings

 

The scheme allows skilled and/or qualified building practitioners to demonstrate their ability to meet industry consulted competencies in order to obtain a status of an LBP. The scheme has 7 license classes:

 

  • Designers
  • Carpenters
  • External Plasterers
  • Bricklayers and blocklayers
  • Roofers
  • Foundation specialist
  • Site managers
  • Registered architects and plumbers as well as chartered engineers are also deemed LBP’s.

 

The Licensed Building Practitioner logo confirms for consumers that the practitioners they are engaging have been assessed as technically competent in their licensed field.

From March 1 2012 changes to the Building Act 2004 mean that building work that relates to either the structure or moisture penetration will be classified as ‘Restricted Building Work’ (RBW). From this date above it is an offence for an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise RBW and it is an offence to knowingly engage an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise RBW unless they have obtained an owner builder exemption from the council.

LBP’s can be found on the online public register of LBPs. This will allow you to see whether the practitioner you have chosen to carry out the work is licensed and whether he has been disciplined in the last three years.

The LBP can be identified by producing either their photo ID or by checking their details against the public register.

If problems arise, anyone can make a complaint to the Builders Practitioners Board if an LBP has carried out work or supervised work that they are not licensed to do, been convicted of a serious offence that reflects on their fitness to be an LBP, carried out work negligently or imcompletely, or carried out or supervised work that does not comply with the builders consent. The Board is not able to award compensation or reparation but is allowed to cancel an LBP’s license, suspend a license for up to 12 months, restrict the work certain LBP’s can do or supervise, formally reprimand them and order a fine up to $1000.

 

If you have any questions regarding the above, or wish to seek advice regarding buying residential property, please contact property lawyer Wade Hansen by phone on 837 6885 or email wade.hansen@smithpartners.co.nz