Province to strengthen protection for new home buyers
by: Government of Alberta | Jun 7th, 2011
The Alberta government is proposing changes to improve the standard of building in Alberta to better protect new home buyers and hold builders more accountable.
“The vast majority of homes in Alberta are built well and stand the test of time. But we want to ensure that we have all the tools in place to address those instances where issues do arise”, said Hector Goudreau, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This full-suite approach will involve all partners from municipalities and their inspectors to builders and safety codes officers to consumers and warranty providers.”
The province will consult with key stakeholders on developing a regulatory framework for mandatory new home warranty programs. There are currently five new home warranty programs available in Alberta. The regulatory framework would enhance what is available to consumers and set minimum provisions and standards.
“Consumers need to know they will be protected when making what can be the biggest purchase of their lives,” said Heather Klimchuk, Minister of Service Alberta. “These changes supplement the work we have already done to regulate home inspectors and is another piece in providing consumers peace of mind.”
The Alberta government is proposing an increase be considered for the limitations period, increasing the length of time that charges may be laid for building code offences to up to three years after homeowners take possession. It is also proposed the maximum fine be increased to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for subsequent offences.
Other activities in progress to help improve the standard of building in Alberta include Municipal Affairs’ review of the Safety Codes Act. As well, the Safety Codes Council is conducting a broad review of Alberta’s inspection system and will provide building envelope training to all building Safety Codes Officers in the province within the next 12 months.
“We’ve always said we didn’t want a band-aid solution,” added Goudreau. “Our comprehensive approach strikes the balance between consumer protection and industry responsibility without significantly adding to the price of a home or negatively impacting builders who comply with Alberta’s codes.”
The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.
Editor’s note: Minister Goudreau will be available to answer media questions outside his office (#104 Legislature building) at 2 p.m. today