The Law Commission tabled their report on joint and several liability in Parliament yesterday http://r132.publications.lawcom.govt.nz/. In summary, the recommendations relating to the building sector include the following:
- Participants in the building sector should remain subject to the normal application of joint and several liability. Proportionate liability is not recommended in the building sector.
- Monetary caps should be placed on the liability of building consent authorities in tort for acts and omissions relating to building consents and all related work ($300K per dwelling, $150K per unit, $3m per multi-unit development). The cap is intended only to apply to new claims arising from acts or omissions that occur after 23 July 2016.
- The Building Act 2004 should be amended to clarify and define the potential liability of building consent authorities for commercial building consents.
- MBIE should continue to develop a residential building guarantee scheme and implement if it proves to be feasible.
No doubt the recommendations will be the subject of further discussion. It is an interesting area to watch given that a building consent authority can often be the last solvent defendant standing. In these cases, the authority’s liability and level of contribution can be pivotal in determining a claimant’s practical chances of recovery.
UPPDATED: Click here to read comments by Mary Haggie in the NBR.
[this post is written by Jared Holt]