Alberta government working on licensing for home builders

Alberta government working on licensing for home builders

The Alberta government is meeting with home builders and consumers and has launched a survey to potentially require builders to have a license.

Currently, there aren't any specific qualifications required to build a home in Alberta — but the provincial government wants to change that.

Licensing would require builders to prove they're not in debt and that they have the skills to construct homes properly.

Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson says it's to shut down companies who provide bad workmanship and disappear.

"People should be confident that when they're making the biggest financial decision of their life for their family in building a house, that they have someone who's a confident builder," said Anderson.

The province is holding focus groups with various parties involved in the home-building process, including homeowners, builders, engineers and municipalities. They're hoping to receive feedback from all facets of the industry.

Alberta's chapter of the Canadian Home Builders' Association has been pushing for licensing requirements for years. They're also involved in the current focus groups.

T.J. Keil, the association's external relations manager, hopes the potential licensing program is fair and affordable.

"[I'm hoping] that the rules will be clear and that they're enforced in an equal and fair way across the province," said Keil.  "You don't want to see a bunch of different regimes pop up from different cities and town to town. That wouldn't really help anybody.

"If any regime was a high cost to comply you're obviously going to drive some of the smaller but reputable builders out. It's going to be a strain for them at a time when the economy is not doing particularly well."

The online survey is open until Mar. 14 and consultations will continue before any legislative amendments are made.

@Travismcewancbc

​Travis.mcewan@cbc.ca