27 Oct 2012

Builder licensing scheme 'not stringent enough'

8:48 am on 27 October 2012

A homeowners' group has criticised the builder licensing scheme which came into force in March as not stringent enough.

Builders who do structural work are required to have a licence and as part of the assessment, referees are contacted and applicants are asked questions about regulations.

To keep their licence, builders must maintain their skills by attending seminars and reading trade material, and are required to keep a record of the activity.

However Home Owners and Buyers Association president John Gray says he has heard builders say the assessments are too easy, with one claiming he was asked just one question.

"To be a licensed practitioner should be something to aspire to, so to have lowered the bar somewhat has actually been a disappointment to some of the qualified builders out there."

Mark Graham, publisher of the Homeowners Building Guide, says there is no audit to ensure licensed builders are attending seminars and reading trade material as required.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's building and housing group says the assessments are robust and stringent, but concedes a lack of auditing to ensure builders maintain their skills needs to be addressed.

Deputy chief executive Maria Robertson says attendance at the skill maintenance activities can be checked as the providers are at the professional end of the spectrum.