Issac Davidson at the NZ Herald reports (30 July):
New Zealand’s biggest councils are imploring the Government to introduce warranties in new building laws or risk “Leaky Buildings 2″.
The councils have made sensible calls. The Government has to introduce meaningful protections for consumers and consenting authorities/ratepayers or we could have another repeat of the leaky building saga on our hands.
Christchurch and Wellington city councils have urged the Government to introduce a warranty scheme to protect consumers and local authorities from liability when builders do not produce good work.
Unbelievably, Minister Maurice Williamson in the second of his two building amendment bills (No.4) is actually planning to reduce the level of protection for consumers and ratepayers!
In the absence of a more genuine reallocation of accountability, for example, through mandatory home warranties and the introduction of proportionate liability, consumers and ratepayers are further exposed.
But worse still, the home-owners will have fewer remedies (if any) when left in the lurch by a $1 shell company.
In the UK, a 10-year warranty protects around 80% of all new homes built in the UK. Every new home built with this warranty has to built in accordance with NHBC (National House-Builders Council) standards. The warranty covers the workmanship, insolvency of the builder and covers any faults, damages or defects discovered within two years of completion.
In Australia, Tasmania is the only state with a voluntary builders warranty scheme. All other state schemes are mandatory.
How do we improve our legislative protection?
As the Building and Construction Spokesperson I am interested in feedback and turn it over to the readers for thoughts on whether we should introduce a mandatory warranty scheme such as that of the UK and Australia.
Note: Building Matters (2) will focus on accountability of manufacturers of building materials.