Ask anyone who has been through a building project and they will tell you one of the biggest decisions of the whole project was choosing a builder. Second only to choosing the section, the right builder will, quite literally, make or break your build experience.
There’s a lot more to choosing a builder than getting the best price. Luckily, the Registered Master Builders Association exists to ensure a safe and reliable avenue for kiwis wanting to find the best builder for the job. The Registered Master Builders Association has been a well-respected brand in New Zealand for over 100 years. The organisation is dedicated to fostering a building industry renowned for quality workmanship, good training and skills, as well as providing a channel for redress if things ever do go wrong.
A Master Builder is a practitioner who has been vetted by the Registered Master Builders Association as having the necessary skills, licenses and knowledge to adhere to government-backed building guidelines and codes.
There are two main trade organisations that builders in New Zealand can belong to - the Registered Master Builders Association (RMBA) or the New Zealand Certified Builders Association (CBANZ).
Builders who belong to the Registered Master Builders Association must meet one of the following criteria:
- A minimum of six years building experience, comprising completion of a carpentry apprenticeship, or a relevant tertiary building related qualification (e.g. B.Arch, B.Eng, NZCB, NZCQS, NZCE, NZCD); and have at least three continuous years as a builder in business on their own account, and/or in day-to-day management of a building business.
- A minimum of eight years continuous building experience, comprising at least five years as a builder contractor in business on their own account, and/or in day-to-day management of a building business, whether having completed any formal examinations or not.
In order to become registered, a Master Builder must provide a number of trade references and examples of their work. A Master Builder is inspected a number of times throughout the year by the RMBA.
Whether it’s a commercial, residential or renovation project, working with a Master Builder reassures homeowners they are working with someone who has the relevant skills and qualifications to do the job properly.
A few benefits of using a Master Builder:
- Master Builders are governed by a Constitution and Code of Conduct, which they must comply with at all times.
- A registered Master Builder can offer a 10-year Master Build Guarantee on new home and renovation work. Under this guarantee, the homeowner is covered for loss of deposit, non-completion of work and materials, workmanship and structural matters.
- The Registered Master Builders Association has representatives in every region of New Zealand allowing for regular checks on workmanship and building practices.
- To become a Master Builder, a practitioner must prove they can successfully run their own business. A good track record goes a long way in reassuring the customer that the builder is competent in project management.
While many reputable builders will stand by their work, a Master Builders Guarantee is a documented way to ensure peace of mind. The guarantee protects the homeowner against things like loss of deposit, non-completion of building work, defective workmanship and materials, rot and fungal decay and structural defects.
The guarantee does not kick in automatically, so homeowners should make sure they have filled out the appropriate documentation and paid any fees to activate the guarantee.
Full details of what the guarantee covers can be found on the Master Builders website, or check out this summary below.
It’s worth noting that on January 1 2015, new regulations were introduced to provide additional cover for homeowners:
- Building practitioners have to give consumers information about their skills, qualifications, licensing status and business record when they are engaged to build a house or extension.
- Practitioners have to provide written contracts for work over $30,000 and can be fined if they don’t comply with the law.
- There is 12 month ‘defect repair period’ when building practitioners must fix any defects they have been told about without question or additional charge.
- If a project is going to cost more than $30,000 (or if you ask for it) your builder must give you a Prescribed Checklist that itemises a number of things they have to give you and explain to you.
Master Builders have systems in place to ensure these regulations are covered.
If you’re looking for the very best homebuilders in New Zealand, then the Registered Master Builders 'House of the Year' Awards is a good place to start. The annual awards showcase the very best in residential building throughout the country.
Check out the Build me. Directory to find a builder in your area. Check if they are a Registered
Master Builder by viewing their Associations, or by visiting the RMBA website.