Industry reaction . . .

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The Registered Master Builders Federation has endorsed the building practitioner licensing scheme because it will help further strengthen the standards of New Zealand’s construction industry. 

The scheme will ensure only skilled and competent people can work in the industry, therefore helping improve consumer confi dence. Registered Master Builders has worked closely with the Government and the Department of Building and Housing to develop the builder licensing framework. 

We appreciate the way the Government has consulted widely with industry on the details around the scheme and how it should take shape. A phased implementation of licensing is a commonsense and practical approach. 

This will enable regulators and the building industry to balance the pressures of implementing the scheme while managing the associated compliance costs. The RMBF has also welcomed the inclusion of licensing assessments which will recognise people’s existing skills, and programmes to help builders prepare for the changes. 

Mr Burghout said the RMBF understands the Government’s rationale behind its decision to continue to allow some DIY work on the structure and exterior of buildings. However, the Federation will continue to encourage home owners to have any work on the structure and exterior of buildings done by a licensed building practitioner to ensure they receive as much protection as possible. 

Our preference is not to see this protection diluted. There is a lot of work to do to get the licensing regime in place, and the RMBF is looking forward to working with the Government and the Department of Building and Housing on the next phase of implementation.

Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) past president Colin Hill says his organisation supports the licensing of the building practitioners regime. The ADNZ has been closely involved in the consultation process with the Department of Building and Housing. 

The licensing of designers and certain trades, along with the increased levels of education required to meet the licence standards, will raise the level of consumer confi dence in the building industry. These changes mark a very important development in construction in this country — they will be good for the industry itself and for consumers, who must always be our focus.

The days of cowboys in the building sector are clearly numbered. Licensing represents the next step towards improved construction standards in New Zealand. I’m sure the public will welcome the news that after 2009, when the regime is implemented, there will be an architectural designer or engineer taking responsibility for the design of every new house, and one licensed builder taking responsibility for the construction work. 

The new regime will hold designers and builders of houses accountable in a manner which will ensure that higher standards of construction are achieved. The industry is still concerned that the new regime could potentially allow for substantial modifications to be made to a house by a “do-it-yourself” builder without any supervision. 

However, the new regime will require a licensed professional to oversee all new home construction and most major additions to existing houses, which together account for the vast majority of construction activity. The Construction Industry Council is still looking for a firm government commitment that soon after 2009 it will become mandatory for all builders to hold a qualification in building suited to their area of expertise. 

This step will cement a culture of professionalism and ongoing education into the sector — something that has been missing for some years.