New regulations coming for construction industry

Construction businesses will be required to pay fees of between $500 and $5,000 to be licensed under the new Builders Law.

Regulations accompanying the new law, which establishes standards and guidelines that all businesses must meet to operate in the construction field in Cayman, were published in the official government gazette this week.

The regulations, which also outline the process for individuals to qualify at various levels in the construction field, bring the law a step closer to reality.

Initially drafted in 2008 and revived, amended and passed by the Legislative Assembly last year, the legislation has yet to come into force. Heber Arch, head of the Cayman Contractors Association, said he believed it was just a matter of putting in place the necessary infrastructure to administer the law.

He recognized it would be a big change for the industry but said most companies were prepared for the new regime and welcomed it.

He acknowledged it would mean additional costs and administrative burden, but said it would be worth it in the long run.

“The major thing is to protect clients and to protect the general public, to make sure that when they hire a contractor, they know they are getting somebody capable of doing the job.”

He said it would likely take some time to get everybody registered.

The law has different categories of registration from general contractors to sub trades, like plumbers, roofers and masons, with a sliding scale of requirements and fees.

At the top end, general contractors, businesses qualified to engage in construction, and civil contractors, businesses that build roads, docks, bridges and utilities infrastructure, must meet the strictest criteria for experience and qualifications and pay the top licensing fee of $5,000.

Smaller or less experienced businesses can apply in separate category of “building contractor,” with a licensing fee of $3,500, or residential contractor, with a licensing fee of $1,500. Trade contractors face a lower fee of $500.

Mr. Arch said the law, which requires licensed businesses to pay pensions and insurance, as well as have individuals on staff with specific qualifications, would protect legitimate firms from unfair competition against rogue contractors who cut corners.

“One of the things it will do is put everyone on a level footing,” he said.

“It is consumer protection as well because if someone messes up a job they can lose their license or they can be fined. At the moment, all you can do is try to sue them.”


  1. In theory this sounds like a great idea.

    However we need to be careful. An excellent system of licensing and qualification exists in Florida.
    Notwithstanding this a large proportion of licensed contractors are, let’s say, slightly lacking in a moral compass.
    Over-charging and incompetence is rife.

  2. How interesting. Another layer of government regulation to protect the public. How honorable. Oh, what a moment. Doesnt Cayman already have a building Code that does that? Afterall, the Building Code requires competent trades construct building, roads, structures and other projects on the island using knowlegeable contractors and workers. After all, if these projects were completed by inexperienced unknowking careless companies and workers, would not the many duilding inspectors employess by the government catch safety and structural violations? After all, building are inspected along the way to ensure plans drawn by licensed and certified architects and engineers are followed. Aren’t they?

    During all this time of writing, considering and adopting this law, has anyone ever done a comprehensive survey of the construction industry in this country? It would seem to me that such a survey could easily be done when a builder applies for a construction permit.

    This survey could inquire about the contractors level of experience, the date of his first permitted project, last permitted project, how many workers the contractor directly employs, what sub-contractors are used instead of direct employees, etc. etc. All of this information could be gathered online as part of the (new project’s) permitting process. It could even be gathered free using an online survey tool such as “Survey Monkey” and provide basic timely reports on who it is that is building in Cayman. On significant (or randomly chosen) projects building department records could be checked to see how the contractor did on previous projects.

    I’m sure such a survey must have already been done when the law was first drafted. But I have never seen any results published. Perhaps this is the time to reveal the initial survey results and run a followup survey to compare the state of the industry today with what it was in 2008.

    After all the government is only trying to protect consumers and the public at large. With real-time reporting the results could be available to the public via internet 24/7 and this would help in chosing a responsible and experienced contractor.

  3. This is long overdue, and I agree with Mr Arch 100% I hope we never get another Hurricane like Ivan or Paloma soon because some “Bandooloo” work that was done on peoples homes after that is amazing.
    I saw foreigners who I knew married to Caymanians ; were Barbers, trimming people hair and all of a sudden they were roofers overnight, and gardeners, building roofs. Everyone just jumped on board saying “I am a roofer” I am a plumber, electrician, this and that; they were given poor people money from the Housing Repair fund, and they went to work doing some real slaughter on peoples house top. No hurricane straps, cheap damaged lumber and plywood. Almost every one who did not have insurance got a bad deal. Still these people were getting a fat check to begin and a fatter check to finish.
    Now out of the woodworks it is still going on; some people cannot even read a ruler or tape measure married to Caymanians, applying for business license to build peoples homes and are just messing up. This is an area that has to be well looked into I do agree.

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