Construction workers’ insurance required

| 19/08/2008

(CNS): Regulations to the Builders Law, which were gazetted 4 August, will become effective when the law comes into force by Order of the Governor – which may be different dates for various provisions of the law. Among the regulations’ provisions is that the Builders Board, which registers businesses and individuals, will register companies as separate from the persons applying for that registration.

The registration applicant has to provide a certificate of insurance showing public liability of $1 million each for these employees: the general contractor, building contractor, residential contractor, and civil contractor. For each sub-trade professional, the applicant must have $500,000 insurance liability.

Elvis McKeever, owner of Island Man Construction on the Brac, believes that provision may put prove prohibative for small contractors. However, the CCA said it was not aware of any contractor who has been priced out of business as a result of having such insurance and that it was affordable.

“However, if there is a majorinjury on the site, a lawsuit could well put the contractor out of business,” CCA President Steve Hawley said. “Public Liability insurance is much like health insurance or pensions. It is an important component in the cost of doing business. There will, however, be contractors who avoid the payment of one or more of these components, as it helps to lower their bid prices so that they may be awarded the contract, in place of a contractor who is acting more responsibly.”

He continued, “Public Liability insurance has become the norm for established contractors. It can be purchased on a single project basis by those contractors who are not busy, or on an annual basis by those contractors who tend to be busy throughout the year. It is relatively inexpensive (less than 2% of the project cost) and can either be regarded by the contractor as an overhead or as a job cost.”

Contractors applying to be registerd will also be required to submitted evidence of provision for workers’ compensation, in accordance with the Workmen’s Compensation Law.

Before issuing a builder’s licence, the Board will conduct a thorough financial responsibility and professional reputation background check on the applicant. Among factors to be considered are evidence of bankruptcy within the last five years; an unsatisfied court judgments against the applicant within the last five years; and a lack of financial stability.


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