First Construction Contracts Amendment Act seminars a success

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Building industry professionals say the nationwide roadshow to educate the sector about the Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015 is crucial to attend.

Around 80 people attended the first Introduction to the Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015 seminar in Wellington recently, which is aimed at ensuring the industry is up to date with changes that came into force from December 1, 2015.

Massey University senior lecturer Naseem Ali, who attended the seminar in Auckland, said it was important, timely and extremely useful in understanding these most recent changes to the Act.

“The seminar was very comprehensive in the context of a two-hour session, focusing on the most important changes, and the notes provided go into even further detail,” Mr Ali says.

“Without doubt, everybody should go, because these changes affect all of us. If you’re a construction professional and you’re not up to date with this knowledge you could be sued for negligence.”

Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment building system performance acting general manager Derek Baxter opened the roadshow which is being run by the NZ Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS).

“The Construction Contracts Act has worked well since its implementation, and these amendments are about making the Act work better and reducing costs to the sector,” Mr Baxter says.

“The challenge now is for the sector to make good use of the Act and its changes, as these have been made to provide benefits to all involved.

“The sector needs to ensure that it prepares itself well to ensure they are not caught out by the changes, particularly those relating to retentions.”

NZIQS member Peter Degerholm, who is delivering the seminars, says feedback was positive, and people took on board the importance of aligning their systems and procedures with the new requirements.

“There was a really good cross section of industry in attendance, which demonstrated a keen interest in the immediate and forthcoming changes,” he says.

“Considerable attention was given to the changes to requirements for payment claims, which apply from December 1, 2015, and the expected impact of extending the Act to design, engineering and quantity surveying services from September 1, 2016.”

Mr Degerholm says the retention trust regime also drew questions as people wanted to get to grips with the changes to their accounting systems and contractual arrangements.

Retention money withheld under commercial construction contracts must be held on trust in liquid assets and paid when due.

“Although the retention regime applies from March 2017, the trust obligation applies to all retentions held on that date above a minimum amount,” Mr Degerholm says.

“That means the impact may be greater and more immediate than some expected — so companies, and the industry as a whole, have plenty of work to do to review their contracting arrangements, and ensure they hold retentions on trust and pay them when they are due.”

To view the roadshow dates and venues, and to register, visit https://nziqs-cca-roadshow.eventbrite.co.nz.