Amendments to regulations under the New Home Buyer Protection Act and the Safety Codes Act will support and protect Wood Buffalo residents as they rebuild their homes.
In May, more than 1,900 residential units were destroyed by devastating wildfires in the Wood Buffalo region. As residents return home and look for companies to help them rebuild their homes, the province is providing extra support for homeowners.
Three regulatory amendments and one new regulation will protect residents by increasing publicly available information about builders in the New Home Buyers Protection Public Registry.
“Following the fires in Slave Lake, many of my friends and neighbours faced tremendous and unnecessary challenges throughout the process of rebuilding their homes. Our government is committed to ensuring this does not happen to Wood Buffalo residents and will support them from start to finish as they rebuild not only their homes, but their lives.”
The amendments will be implemented immediately in the Fort McMurray area and will require builders to complete a builder declaration through the New Home Buyer Registry before they may apply for a building permit. Additional information can now be collected from a builder, including residential construction history, corporate and financial history, and outstanding fines or orders.
“Good builders are ready to meet the new requirements to work in Fort McMurray. Our members across Alberta support this enhanced consumer protection to ensure homeowners can rebuild with confidence. We have already heard from companies outside of Alberta making unrealistic claims about how quickly and cheaply they can build here. Protecting residents from unqualified and unscrupulous contractors at this critical time should be a priority.”
This information will help Fort McMurray residents make more informed decisions when selecting a builder and will give them more confidence as they begin the reconstruction process.
“On behalf of our Council, I thank the Government of Alberta for taking this step to put the safety and peace of mind of our residents first as we begin to recover and rebuild together as a community. This streamlined, efficient process will make it easier for our residents to rebuild and we commend our provincial partners that have been with us every step of the way during the biggest challenge in our region’s history.”
The government will also hold public information sessions in July and August. These sessions will help ensure that both builders and homeowners are well informed about the changes and about their rights and responsibilities.
A tip sheet will be provided to homeowners and there will be additional support staff to explain the process of selecting a builder, regulatory requirements for builders and contract best practices.
These changes in the Fort McMurray area are a first step towards developing a longer-term provincial builder-licensing program. Based on the success of this program, builder licensing may be phased in across Alberta.