RMBF welcomes move to clarify genuine DIY exemptions


The RMBF has commended the Government for addressing industry concerns, clarifying that the proposed DIY exemptions to the restricted building work requirements and the Licensed Builder Practitioner Scheme (LBP) scheme will only apply to genuine DIYers.

Minister for Building and Construction Shane Jones announced the new policy direction to more than 300 Registered Master Builders delegates, industry stakeholders and suppliers at the RMBF’s annual conference in Wellington recently.

Mr Jones told delegates that the Government had listened to the construction industry and was looking to tighten exemptions for work that could be carried out by non-licensed builders.

The Minister announced that to qualify for an owner-builder exemption, the DIYer will need to meet the following criteria:
• the DIYer must be an individual and the owner of the land on which the building work is to be carried out,
• the DIYer will have to sign a statutory declaration that it is to be their home,

• the implied warranties in the Building Act that apply to builders will be extended to apply to DIYers, and
• council records will show the work was done by a DIYer.

RMBF chief executive Pieter Burghout says he applauds the Minister’s new proposal, saying it very much aligned with what the RMBF and the industry had been saying to the Government on allowance for a genuine DIYer exemption for the past year.

Mr Burghout says he welcomes the opportunity to work on refining the policy with Department of Building and Housing (DBH) officials, and once the changes to DIY exemptions were finalised, the RMBF would be in a position to decide whether to endorse the new licensing scheme.

“The RMBF has always been in favour of builder licensing and has worked closely with our members and the Department of Building and Housing to make the LBP scheme practicable for builders and beneficial to consumers,” Mr Burghout says.
“However, how the licensing scheme was going to apply to owner-builders has always been an area of concern. We support the right of Kiwis to perform traditional, minor DIY tasks, such as installing an internal door or removing a non-load bearing wall, or if they are really keen, to build a whole house.

“But any exemption needs to eliminate the potential for consumers to be put at risk by unscrupulous builders masquerading as DIYers, thereby undermining the integrity of the scheme. We think the Government’s recent announcements do this.”

The Minister also spoke about the Government’s recent policy proposals on housing affordability, including proposed legislation to reduce the cost and time delays associated with obtaining consents for new homes.

Mr Burghout says the RMBF welcomes the Government’s initiatives towards making housing more affordable, and suggested many builders will be looking forward to making use of the streamlined consenting procedures once implemented.

However, Mr Burghout noted that reducing consent fees will only make a small difference to the cost of a home.
“It is only going to save about $3000 to $4000 per home at the most. To significantly improve housing affordability, the Government needs to also address the issues of land availability and regulatory impact fees.”

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