The Building Amendment Act 2013 came into force on New Year’s Day with a number of changes for residential work.
Parliament passed the act in November 2013 as part of a package of changes which introduce new measures to improve the building sector. Amendments which take immediate effect include:
- The type of work that doesn’t require a building consent has changed
- Higher penalties apply for doing building work without the appropriate consents
- A number of terms & definitions have been changed
- Councils have increased authority to restrict entry to buildings that may be near buildings that are dangerous
- The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has more power to hold building consent authorities to account, and, separate from the general changes,
- The way dams are defined & measured has changed.
Cabinet has agreed new consumer protection measures as a result of the act, including:
- Mandatory written contracts for residential building work costing $30,000-plus (including gst)
- A requirement for building contractors to provide checklists and disclose certain information for residential building work costing $30,000-plus (including gst) or when they are asked for this
- Minimum content that must be included in all residential building contracts
- Clauses that are taken to be included in a residential building contract that doesn’t contain all the minimum content, or in a contract for work costing $30,000-plus (including gst) that is not in writing
- Information that a building contractor must provide to their client after the building work is completed
- Infringement fees of $500 for breaching the contract, disclosure or checklist requirements.
Building & Housing Minister Nick Smith said builders would have to have written contracts, provide information on their relevant skills, experience & qualifications and disclose their insurance & warranty cover.
“These new requirements are about improving how building work is contracted in New Zealand. They ensure increased professionalism, open disclosure & clear expectations about what work is to be done, at what price and in what timeframe.
“Building & construction activity in New Zealand is expected to reach unprecedented levels. This makes it all the more important that we have an efficient industry in place that is capable of delivering the quantity & quality we need.”
Attribution: MBIE, ministerial release.