If we have done the right thing by the client and ourselves then what is the real issue? Is it that we have a systemic culture of short changing the clients this leading to problems for everyone down the track. Or are we just slack – far too casual in NZ to take compliance seriously?
Think about these scenarios – are these folk liable for their actions?
- We have filled in the building consent application in full. We hope the vetting officer won’t pick that up. If he/she does then we complain that they are too picky/
- The plans don’t have enough detail on them but they are submitted anyway. And then it’s a game to see if the processing officer picks that up.
- The product has been substituted on-site because it’s cheaper without the owner knowing. The contractor pockets the difference and hopes the owner will never find out.
- Designed changes desired by the owner are not authorised or known by Council but the contractor does it anyway
- Council has not competed all the inspections as they were too busy
- Contractor advises of practical completion but the work has had no final inspection
- Contractors paid for work but not produced papers (LBO ROWs and PS3s)
- Engineers has signed PS4 but has no construction monitoring notes as she/he has never been to site.
- A CCC has never been applied for – owners are unaware until they come to sell a decade later
- The BWOF is overdue due to a lack of maintenance on a system and the tenants have no idea there is a possible safety issue in the building.
And all of these tiny small decisions to do the wrong thing have led to headaches, heartaches and in many cases building failure. No wonder the Hunn Report of 2002 says we have a systemic problem in the building industry and another decade has done little to improve behaviour – just made more paperwork and more folk scared.
Should the people above be worried about liability – YES – because at the heart of it they know what they have done is wrong but have got away with it – that is until a building surveyor has come along and reviews the facts and discovers the deceit. Professional indemnity cannot redeem professional negligence.
Hot Tip: If you want to avoid liability – do the right thing – be transparent
If you want to know more about liability and protecting yourself come along to our
Power Up Breakfast session 22 June 2016 in Auckland