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.”