CHANGES TO THE BUILDING ACT
HOW DO THEY AFFECT ARCHITECTS, DESIGNERS AND DESIGN/BUILD?
The Building Amendment Act 2013 became law on 1 November 2013, with some changes coming into force immediately and some coming into effect on 1 January 2015. While the thrust of the legislation targets the relationship between builders/contractors and their clients, as a professional advisor to your client you should be aware of the legislation and the impact it may have, especially on the documentation you may be asked to provide.
Written contracts will become a legal requirement for all residential building work $30,000 or more including GST and work undertaken by subcontractors. Given the fluid nature of some building work it would seem prudent to recommend a written contract for any sum well below this figure. If the contractor engages you your fee may become part of this sum along with all other subcontractors to the project.
Recently, in an article in ITM's Building Business magazine, Auckland commercial law specialist Geoff Hardy explained that builders would have to provide to the customer and the Council, copies of all ongoing insurance policies, guarantees, product warranties, and the maintenance requirements for every component of the work that has a durability period. If the builder wants you to include this detail in your specification documentation, especially with regard to the maintenance and durability of the product selections, your specification may take longer to complete. The Masterspec NextGen2 platform allows you to easily access and attach documentation directly to the specification and the Appendix as you are writing it. However you should consider clarifying exactly what level of product detail is expected in your own contract to ensure your time is adequately covered.
As always it's good practice to have a contract for your involvement in any project that clearly states your obligations, fees and the restrictions of your liability. The plans and specifications you submit must be as detailed and specific enough to protect you in the case where others might decide during the construction process to change or modify a design detail or selection.
If your company has design build responsibility then all of the changes affecting you as both a designer and main contractor will apply. You will need to supply
- The checklist you have to hand over to potential residential customers.
- The disclosure statement including all about you, your company, your licensing status, business record, the insurances you carry, and the guarantees and warranties that apply to your materials and workmanship. That includes any product warranties that are likely to be issued.
- The written building contract you will have to get your residential customer to sign.
- The insurance policies, guarantees and warranties, and maintenance requirements you have to tell your customer about at the end of the project.
Remember you are responsible for the design’s performance for 10 years after construction just as a builder is for construction. With the balance of the legislation coming into effect January 1 2015 now is the time to make sure your contracts are sound, your insurances are in place and your specifications are as complete, accurate and up to date as they can be.
For more information visit the links below
MBIE Building AmendmentAct 2013. Changes 2014-15
Building Amendment Act 2013 in full