Building Today spoke to four builders about their opinions and plans for voluntary
licensing in terms of the LBP scheme.
Peter Cooper from Jones & Cooper Builders in Gore says he plans “to sit on the fence until I can see where this is going”.
Mr Cooper supports the scheme in principle, but is disappointed about the regulation pertaining to DIY work.
“I feel a bit deflated. I can’t see how the scheme can be effective if it doesn’t cover everybody who’s building. I think certain work should be left to those trained and qualified to do it, and licensing is a good way to acknowledge these skills and knowledge,” Mr Cooper says.
“The uncertainty around the political issues of the scheme is another problem for me. What if I make the effort to become licensed and in 18 months everything changes? It may be watered down yet again after the election.
“I was strongly for it, but in its present form I don’t think it delivers much for the consumer,” he says.
Kelvin Pearce from Kelvin Pearce Builders in New Plymouth also plans not to apply for licensing now, although he thinks it is a good scheme.
“I think the concept is very, very good. It’s well overdue in New Zealand,” he says.
“But the way it’s proposed, the philosophy of implementing isn’t good, especially concerning DIY builders. It’s been watered down into something that probably won’t appeal to most builders.
“There’s been a lot of consultation with builders, but suddenly there were changes against our advice.
“Why should I get a licence if somebody can just register as a DIY builder and go on building low cost housing?
“I’ll wait until after the election. I believe the scheme may change, especially if we get a new Government,” he says.
Murray Pedersen from Murray Pedersen Builders Ltd in Mt Maunganui thinks the scheme is good news for the New Zealand building industry.
He has already started preparing licence applications for him and the company’s four foremen, and says the RMBF’s online support system has considerably simplified the application process for him.
“I think the scheme is a wonderful idea. Murray Pederson Builders only employs qualified tradespeople anyway,” Mr Pedersen says.
“There are many cowboys in this industry that never served apprenticeships and hopefully this will sort them out.
“My concern is about the DIY people. I believe any work they do should be monitored thoroughly and signed off by a licensed person, otherwise everything will remain as it is currently.”
Murray Pedersen Builders has won more than 30 House of the Year awards.
Cost of construction will skyrocket
Laurie Wooding from Wooding Construction 2006 Ltd in Whangarei reckons the scheme will “get rid of ratbag builders”, but has concerns it will cause the cost of construction to skyrocket.
“It will cut a lot of unqualified construction people out of work in a way, as their work will have to be signed off by a qualified person — leaving a much longer paper trail. Foremen will have more liability,” Mr Wooding says.
“All this is good as we’ll be getting better quality building, but it will push up costs, as qualified people will be more difficult to get hold of and will be asking higher rates.
“With construction costs already high, even fewer New Zealanders will be able to afford it.
“Also, I believe it would be good if all trades involved are finally licensed in the same manner, as there are lots of cowboys out there and if something goes wrong it’s easy to blame builders,” he says.
Mr Wooding plans to commence licensing in the new year, and says he hopes to have all his qualified tradespeople licensed by the end of 2008.