Lifting quality in the building industry

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The Registered Master Builders Federation has been advocating the introduction of builder licensing for many years. The launch of building practitioner licensing by the Minister for Building Issues, Clayton Cosgrove, at the Federation’s conference in April was a key element in the “fixing up” of the building industry. 

Recently I visited our Master Builder Association counterparts in Australia to look at how they addressed the issue of builder licensing, which, for most of them, has been up-and-running for the past decade. While there were some minor grizzles here and there about some of the bureaucracy, most of the Associations in Australia support licensing as the best way to ensure those in the industry have the required skills and competencies. 

And, I am sure, the building industry will come to see the same value over here once licensing is fully in place — it will help underpin the delivery of quality homes and buildings. We will be encouraging members to get licensed earlier rather than later so they can provide evidence to their clients about the skills and competence within their building businesses. And builder licensing is just the start of a raft of changes. 

There are many other aspects of the building industry also under review, including: 

• a ground-up review of the Building Code, with the initial report due in November 2007, 

• a new product certification scheme so that people can have greater confidence in the building products being used, 

• the accreditation of Building Consent Authorities, which will ensure building inspections are done to a consistent, best-practice standard, and 

• a policy review considering the introduction of home warranty insurance and professional indemnity insurance. 

The introduction of builder licensing will mean a shake up for the construction industry — one that is well overdue, and one which is welcomed by an industry keen to get on with the job of building quality homes, offices, schools and hospitals that people work, live and sleep in every day. 

The leaky building crisis in the early 2000s was a blight on an industry that, otherwise, is extremely proud of the work it does. 

Builders love building great houses, and licensing will help ensure a more professional and better quality industry.