Provincial protections available for homebuyers
As construction season begins, mandatory licensing for residential builders is available to protect Albertans and increase company accountability.
Builder licensing came into effect on Dec.1, 2017, to help Albertans distinguish good builders from bad. To give companies time to transition, temporary licences were issued to more than 1,600 active builders. These temporary licences expired May 1 and full licensing requirements are now in effect.
“Now that we have both builder licensing and new home warranty rules in place, homebuyers will be better protected when they make the biggest purchase of their lives. The new online registry contains important builder information so consumers can make an informed choice. I encourage Albertans looking to invest in a home to use this registry to find a reputable builder.”
The New Home Buyer Protection Amendment Act, passed last spring, established licensing requirements for residential builders. Home construction companies now need a licence to obtain building permits for new homes. As part of their application, builders must provide information about their corporate structure, history of building homes and compliance with related safety and consumer legislation. Licences can be suspended, cancelled or have conditions placed on them. People who build their own homes (owner-builders) are not required to have a builder licence.
“Gold Seal has always supported any opportunity to increase the credibility and legitimacy of the residential construction industry. It is paramount to offer the new homebuyer every possible assurance they are making an informed and proper buying decision, based on a builder’s past history. Furthermore, it is important for buyers to have a non-partisan source for information regarding builders.”
An online registry listing all licensed builders can help homebuyers select a reputable builder. The registry contains builder information such as:
- name and contact information
- location of builds
- names of directors
- associated building companies
- licence status and class
- any previous licence(s) held
Builder licensing supports Alberta’s many trustworthy builders who do excellent work and helps distinguish them from those few builders who put homebuyers at risk.
- More than 1,900 builder licences have been approved since Dec. 1, 2017.
- Alberta has about 12 per cent of Canada’s population but has 20 per cent of Canada’s housing starts. There were 29,457 housing starts in Alberta in 2017.
- More than $10 billion is invested annually in new residential construction in Alberta.
- Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec also have builder licensing programs.