- Date published:
8:51 am, September 23rd, 2015 - 97 comments
Categories: greens, national, same old national - Tags: housing, julie anne genter, leaky buildings, nick smith, rules reduction taskforce
The Government’s rules reduction taskforce has come up with the daft idea of letting ‘some’ builders self-certify. Like similar “experts” back in the 1990’s, who similarly thought that removing council oversight of building practices would improve productivity, they are safely away from the downstream carnage and suffering this will cause.
A proposal for builders to give themselves the green light could leave the door open for a repeat of the leaky housing crisis, construction industry experts say.
And homeowners who went through the saga the first time are not backing the idea.
The Government’s rules reduction taskforce yesterday announced a recommendation to encourage builders who met “certain levels of qualification” to self-certify.
It was one of 10 recommendations issued by the taskforce, set up to scrutinise long-winded regulations causing frustration for taxpayers. Other initiatives include cutting consent fees, defining work safety more strongly and using better engagement during policy development. Self-certification would mean builders could deem themselves capable of being licensed at a certain level.
Home Owners and Buyers Association president John Gray said it might mean another leaky building crisis.
“Clearly there are good builders out there but we’re left to deal with the human grief and the financial impact of failed buildings … This will just repeat the same problems that we had in the 1990s where there wasn’t a lot of care or skill applied to the construction of houses when responding to the demand.”
Leaky homes were still being built so it was important not to “let the leash run slack”, Mr Gray said.
“That’s what’s happening now and it’ll only get worse if we let the builders self-certify.”
As a person who wound up with 59 other owners playing for a complete recladding of a 1998 apartment building caused by a few sub-subcontractors cutting corners in how they installed balcony water proofing and bathroom plumbing in the late 2000s, I completely agree.
The rebuild cost was half of the value of the building, and was done while running through nearly 4 years getting the case to court. Fortunately because the Auckland City Council had inspected the build, their insurers settled before court as they were nearly the “last person standing”. Most of the building companies and their insurance policies had disappeared by the time the damage was detected.
If we hadn’t had the council inspection and had left the building untouched, then it would have been a writeoff by the time it wound its way through court against a plethora of missing builders and building companies. As it was, the saga nearly bankrupted me and dozens of others.
The best clear MP comment that I saw was by Green MP Julie Anne Genter
The idea of builders self-certifying was “very troubling”.
“It’s a false economy – we may reduce some compliance costs in the short term, but there is a huge financial risk and it’s unclear where the liability would lie.
“The report lacks any evidence of costs and benefits of reducing oversight in the building sector.”
Which was exactly what happened in the 1990s and early 2000s after deregulation. Sure, housing was built faster. However it threw an immense risk on to home owners because they did not have the expertise to inspect their new properties or the properties that they purchased down the line. In courts, all productivity gains were massively dissipated by the search for liability.
The false equivalence used by such notable irresponsible nutters as Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith with his usual lying lines…
But the system was already used for electrical work, and Smith said there was some instances where builders should be able to sign off their own work in the same way as electricians do.
Of course, electricians have a pretty strong incentive. Leaving faulty wiring in a house that results in death, injury, or fire also draws the attention of the police. Electricians who cause manslaughter like that carry the high risk of drawing the attention of the police and criminal prosecution. As well as any civil liabilities.
In the slow catastrophes that builders usually cause with things like leaky walls, mould, and dangerous bathrooms, that criminal incentive seldom happens.
However, if Nick Smith is willing to provide similar criminal law incentives, say in the line of criminal theft for millions of dollars for negligent builders and the required extraditions or causing deliberate injury to children and adults, then maybe I’ll look at his ideas more kindly. However as I suspect he isn’t proposing that or anything like it. It is just Nick Smith being a complete spinning dickhead again.
Most rules have a reason, and this one definitely does. Lets leave the liability where it belongs. With the certifying authority meant to inspect buildings and the work of builder, and who is liable to be still there in 15 or 20 years. Councils or central government are the best organisations to take on that role. The liability makes them less likely to cut corners and produce crap legislation.
But perhaps we should we should increase the liability of the politicians who vote for idiotic legislation….