Categorized | National News

Construction Contractors Bill Tabled

The construction industry contributes some 10 per cent to our gross domestic product and ensuring we get it right is vital to our economy, this according to Deputy Prime Minister Phillip Davis.

Davis announced the implementation of a Construction Contractors Bill yesterday in the House of Assembly that sets out to establish a board that would register and license construction contractors.

“Until now, Bahamian consumers have been exposed to a dangerously under-regulated industry.  Without professional licences, consumers have been subjected to unscrupulous contractors, cost overruns, and poor workmanship.  Save civil lawsuits, there is little recourse for those with complaints against contractors. “

“Many are the stories of vulnerable consumers, particularly single women, who have fallen prey to ill-guided contractors – losing money and materials – paying deposits and seeing no work done by contractors that disappear,” Mr. Davis said.

 Mr. Davis, said when it comes to complaints, the bill provides specific solutions and the creation of a rating system will make the process much more efficient and effective.

“The Construction Contractors Bill provides specific and expedient remedies for complaints through a disciplinary board that could suspend or revoke the licence of a contractor and/or impose fines.

“The legislation will also establish a rating system for contracting companies’ skill-levels from Category One (for building a single-family structure) to Category Four (for building a large resort or casino).

“Contractors would have to meet certain criteria before they would be able to join the body and would have to demonstrate that they have successfully completed a project within the category of the licence for which they are applying.

“They would also have to show that their business licence is valid and that there are no outstanding complaints against them,” Mr. Davis said.

If passed, the new law also paves the way for a builder’s defect scheme, for those who have run afoul of the law offering them a second chance

“While the provisions of the Construction Contractors Bill clearly set the requirements for registration and licensing, it allows a period of transition for a person who was practicing as a contractor to continue to do so for a period of two years.

“It is anticipated that this is adequate time for practitioners to secure all requisites for registration and licensing.

 “This government has always advocated forgiveness and the requirement for a second chance.  For those who have run afoul of the law, there is always an avenue for reform.

“The legislation considers this and provides that the Board cannot refuse to register any individual on the sole basis that he has a criminal record.  That provision stipulates that the applicant has not reoffended within two years immediately preceding the application,” Mr. Davis said.

Davis added that as this past weekend marked our 43rd independence it is imperative that we continue to grow and the formalization of our industries and services are of paramount importance.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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