Last year, the Government of BC announced a new licensing system for builders in residential construction. As of March 4, 2016, the new qualification requirements are in effect.
Who does this affect?
The new system applies to general contractors engaged in building single-family homes and small residential buildings. Each builder is classified as a general contractor, developer or both and must identify their status when applying for a new license or renewing an existing one.
General contractors hired by licensed developers do not need to be licensed.
New Qualification Requirements
New applicants must show that they have completed accepted training courses in 7 core competencies (or equivalent education/training) and a minimum amount of relevant experience.
The 7 core competencies are as follows:
- Relevant enactments - the purpose of the BC Building Code and BC Fire Code (including the Vancouver Building Bylaw) and how they apply to residential construction.
- Construction management and supervision - including project planning, cost estimating, scheduling, materials procurement, scope of work changes, contingency planning, site reporting, site safety and staff/contractor management.
- Construction technology - including building durability, control of heat and moisture flow, building envelope features, mechanical systems and structural components, and the effect of climate and soil conditions.
- Customer service and home warranty insurance – including maintaining positive customer relations, implementing a customer service plan and responding to defects identified under a home warranty insurance policy.
- Financial planning and budget management – including basic accounting, construction financing and contingency planning.
- Legal issues – including contract and consumer protection law, the land title registry, obligations respecting insurance and home warranty insurance, builder liability, the Homeowner Protection Act and Builders Lien Act, dispute resolution, and the effect of provincial enactments and municipal bylaws.
- Business planning and management – including strategic business planning, management and administration.
Applicants must provide proof of at least 24 months of experience within the last 5 years managing or supervising residential construction.
Each builder must have one individual that meets the above requirements to obtain a new license. That individual must be a director, officer or partner of the company or an full-time employee or manager that oversees residential construction.
Continuing Professional Development
All licensed general contractors seeking to renew their licenses must obtain at least 40 Continuing Professional Development points each year. Points are earned by either actively managing new residential construction projects or through attending course/training and educational events. Details can be found here.
Additionally, BC Housing can deny licenses to those:
- with a history of harmful business practices
- that have violated the Homeowner Protection Act
- been convicted of fraud-related offences
- found to be in breach of contract with new home buyers
As of July 4, 2016, the application process for Owner Builder Authorization will include an exam on basic knowledge of home building.
BC Housing has an excellent website that thoroughly explain the new licensing system here. For more insurance and risk-related matters concerning the building and construction industry, please contact a CapriCMW Risk Advisor.