A Look at the Construction Contractors Bill 2011

May 21, 2014

bulletin header image

Did you know that according to the Construction Contractors Bill, any unlicensed person performing construction shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of ten thousand ($10,000.00) or imprisonment; or to both?” This is only one of the many new   penalties the bill seeks to address in an attempt to ensure regulation with the industry. For far too long, contractors, especially building contractors, were providing shoddy work to the unassuming homeowner without any short term recourse. The Construction Contractors Bill is intended to act as a catalyst for change in the way contractors approach openness and manage their affairs. The Bill is designed to protect both contactors and consumers. It is intended to cover all construction disciplines ranging from electrical contractors to road contractors.

The Construction Contractors Bill was drafted to streamline contractors by ensuring that compliance have been met with the Construction Contractors Board who oversees the regulatory framework of the industry.

The interpretation section in the Bill is wide-ranging and defines such terms as “builders defects insurance”, “contractors all risk insurance”, “construction contracting”, “public liability insurance” and the like. By sections 4 to 6 of the Bill, a Construction Contractors Board is established with a mandate to assess the qualifications and experience of contractors, to register contractors and to issue certificates of registration and to safeguard against illegal, improper or unethical constructing practices and to develop a Code of Conduct for registered contractors. The Act speaks to the registration process for contractors and section 10 outlines the pre-requisites for registration which includes tertiary level education, financial disclosure responsibility and proof of no criminal record. This is to ensure that all registered contractors are of reputable character.

Notwithstanding the above, the Construction Contractors Bill would not be complete unless it provided for discipline for those contractors who failed to adhere to the code of conduct. The definition of professional misconduct in this Bill is wide-ranging and includes:

  • Negligence;
  • Failure to make reasonable provision for safeguarding of life, health or property of a person who may be affected by the work for which a registered contractor is responsible;
  • Conduct which is disgraceful, dishonorable or unprofessional;
  • Repeated performance of defective work;
  • Failure to comply with the rules, regulations, byelaws, standards and codes under this Act.

In cases where a complaint of misconduct has been made and proven against a contractor, the Board may:

  • Remove his name from the Contractors Register;
  • Suspend his registration;
  • Issue a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars.

Further significant provisions of the Construction Contractors Bill are:

  • Appeals can be lodged to the Supreme Court against the Board’s determination, for example, as to an applicant’s registration or against a disciplinary order of the Board;
  • Dispute Resolution Processes between client and builder are done in accordance with the Arbitration  Act, 2009;
  • Categories of Registration of Contractors are listed in the First Schedule;
  • Description of Trades for all types of contractors are given wide meaning;
  • The builder in a building contract must clearly explain how the client’s contract deposit and other pre-payments are dealt with;
  • Mandatory reporting of all defective works to the Builders Defects Insurance Scheme Manager, so that the builder may remedy all damages before referral to the Board;
  • Mandatory publishing off all registered contractors in the Gazette.

Recently, the President of the Bahamas Contractors Association indicated that “contractors across the Caribbean have expressed interest in viewing the Bill so as to develop regulation for the construction industry in their respective countries.” With such keen expression of interest from both contractors and consumer, “Parliament must lead in this initiative, act now and pass this long-awaited legislation!”

The clauses of the Bill mentioned in this article are only a summary and is not meant to be construed as legal advice in any way.

Jayson Romer of Halsbury Law ChambersJayson Romer



bulletin-newsletter FOOTER

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed in: Bulletins