Consumers are already aware of changes to the construction sector which allow building practitioners to be licensed as a mark of their professionalism and expertise.
As March 2012 draws closer and the introduction of restricted building looms, the need for professional building practitioners to become Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) becomes more urgent.
Those not licensed will find themselves excluded from carrying out or supervising some building work. Nearly 6000 people are now licensed, or have applied to become licensed — equating to almost 7300 licenses.
All LBPs are independently assessed as competent, and are accountable to an independent board.
The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) is about to embark on a consumer campaign which will emphasise the need for building owners to choose LBPs in ensuring the quality of their building.
The DBH also wants to ensure that consumers are aware of their responsibilities — such as regular maintenance and repair of a building, and choosing the right person with the right licence to undertake the work required.
The DBH expects the consumer campaign to get under way in force in July once there are sufficient numbers of LBPs present around the country.
Those who have already become licensed are urged to encourage others in the sector to apply, and to ensure any other trades they hire for projects are also licensed.
In Christchurch, the need for LBPs is apparent. Last year the DBH signed up nearly 1800 LBPs in Canterbury, and they will be available when rebuilding Christchurch gets under way.
Fletchers’ Program Management Office is leading the rebuild, and is insisting on LBPs — and they won’t be the only ones.
As the scheme comes into force, consumers will increase the pressure for tradespeople to be licensed, and it is fairly well guaranteed that banks and other lending institutions, looking to protect the value of their investment, will also insist on the use of LBPs.
There is no doubt that over the coming years the need to be recognised as a professional in the field will become a very strong marketing tool.
The building sector is important to New Zealand’s economy. Currently it accounts for 4% of GDP and employs 12% of the workforce.
It is essential that the sector upskills and retains its professionalism for the good of all New Zealanders.
By March 2012 when restricted building work starts, it’s hoped that more than 14,000 licenses will have been issued, and that they will be spread throughout the country so every New Zealander can access the practitioner they need locally.
LBPs will be the backbone of the construction sector which, in turn, is a substantial contributor to New Zealand’s economy.
Workshops due to start
The DBH is about to start another series of workshops around the country to support building practitioners to become licensed.
For more information on when they will be in your district, check your local newspaper, contact your local merchant, or phone the DBH on 0800 60 60 50 or visitwww.dbh.govt.nz where you will find all the workshops listed.