Changes made to controversial builders law

| 24/04/2019 | 29 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Planning Minister Joey Hew is urging contractors to prepare to register following changes to the controversial Builders Law that were passed recently in the Legislative Assembly. The “significant amendments” address concerns about the original legislation from the construction sector, Hew said as he presented the bill earlier this month. The criteria, categories and process under which contractors should register have been simplified and the ability to move between categories has been made more flexible.

Rules over the composition of the board have also been changed and a provision has been created to allow locals to build their own homes without having to be a registered contractor. As he presented the key changes in the law to the LA, Hew said that the controversies about the original legislation had emerged almost immediately after it was passed in 2015.

Many smaller construction firms had raised concerns with government and their MLAs that the law had been drafted to suit big general contractors and they had not been consulted. But the significant amendments arose out of a consultation that had included more than 40 smaller contractors and stakeholders, which Hew said would lead to “sweeping changes”.

He said the original law had created a number of challenges, including the criteria of the boards and problems surrounding the qualified person at each firm that would define the category. He said the amendments would go a long way to making the industry more efficient.

However, Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller raised a number of concerns about the new law, noting that the local contractors may still face several problems with the categories. He also questioned the government’s legitimization of labour brokers within the bill.

He said that the category “should be removed” altogether because it fell foul of the immigration law and exploited workers while enabling contractors to avoid their legal obligations to pay health and pension benefits. Contractors should be obligated to get their own work permits for their employees and meet their labour obligations, he said.

Hew explained that the labour brokers had been identified in the legislation as a separate category to make sure that they do not participate in any construction work themselves as they are not qualified, but he said he was willing to have another look at how they are regulated. 

The minister accepted that the law was not perfect but said the ministry had “spent time trying to get it as right as possible”, and once a new board was appointed to begin the process of registering contractors under the new categories, they may identify more minor amendments. 

He urged contractors to register once the amended bill was enforced, warning that once the law was implemented they would not be able to request a building permit unless they are registered.

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Category: Business, Construction, Laws, Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I like cats

  2. Pay up or I'll knock it down says:

    How about offering real protection to contractors by introducing a builder’s lien over the property until the builder has been paid in full? And some standard contract documentation would be a good idea too; as this would offer contractual protection for both owner and contractor. In my 20 years in Cayman I am aghast at the number of people in the construction industry (both clients/owners and contractors) who seem to think that payment of their bills is optional.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The million dollar question is, Who will ENFORCE this Law?

  4. Anonymous says:

    $180 a square foot to build a basic house. Ridiculous! $270,000 for 1500 square foot and the contractor can’t finish the job!

    • Concrete guy says:

      Exactly why we need the law. To protect you, and the contractor when the opposite happens, and he doesn’t get paid. Also, if you are spending 270k, plus land, I’m fairly certain your idea would have been prior to starting, that you would have something worth more when completed??

    • Anonymous says:

      $180/sqft sounds quite reasonable compared to the prices I have heard being thrown around. Are we talking about a wooden house with a galvanized roof here But on a serious note, these prices are out of this world considering the duty exemptions on materials. Are all legitimate contractors required to be listed on CCA (Cayman contractors association)?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian here. I been working in this industry for 22 years and I have experience in every trade. When I stated there was many caymanians but today there is few. I started out as a helper making $10 per hour. 22 years later many companies today are paying trade workers $10 per hour minus insurance and pension. The government need to address this issue because it is ridiculous. Contractors are make millions they sub out the job for a few pennies to avoid paying insurance and pension. Sub contractors are bringing in cheap labour to get the job completed and refuse to hire caymanians claiming that we are lazy. Immigration is granting work permits to people that dont even have work. Permit holders have to hustle for days work so they can pay the people that have their work permits.

    I hope that the government will address the real problems in the construction industry and put a stop to cheap labour and racketeering that’ have been happening for years. It make no sense in developing the island if the caymanians are not benefiting from it.. Cost of living has increased by triple if not more in the past 20 years.

    Thanks for posting. Hard working Cayman right yah..

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Everywhere its the same. From shops to gardeners. Locals are shutout be cheapER labor. Minimum wage is not even near the Cost of living.

    • Anonymous says:

      you are just a dissatisfied worker. Since you are well experienced, why don’t you get your own business and trade license and start up your own company? Truth is that good workers are well paid. Government does not need to regulate anything, there is enough regulation as it is now. Praise Mr Hew and the rest of the unity team.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can they add something that they are only allowed to use heavy equipment during the week? I am so sick of waking up at 6:30am on a Saturday, Sunday and public holidays because there is not rule against loud noise/heavy equipment?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am a contractor and own a company that employees 4 people including myself. I went through the whole process last year of submitting my application to the Builders Board. While i got what I asked for eventually, one of the issues they had was that i did not have a qualified Foreman on my payroll which meant i was not allowed to obtain a Residential Contractors Licence. While this is true, I explained that we mainly do large renovations for commercial and residential clients. Therefore a Foreman is not needed unless we are building a home. When these jobs come up, I hire a qualified Foreman to oversee the works to completion. They dont understand that small companies are not building houses constantly and therefore cannot afford to hire staff that are only needed on certain projects full time.

    One other issue was that according to the Builders Law, if you have a Residential Contractors Licence, you are not allowed to works on commercial buildings at all. In essence, this means that i can build a complete whose for a client, but cannot complete a simple office renovation. It makes no sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many smaller construction firms had raised concerns with government and their MLAs that the law had been drafted to suit big general contractors and they had not been consulted.

      cayman needs to stop with the fly by flight contractors, landscapers, tradesman ……

      DCI should have not relaxed the requirements it is scary how many new companies have cropped……


  8. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian cant build homes because of planning dept red tape.

    • Anonymous says:

      As annoying as the Planning Department us, Ive realised they are only helping you in the long run because your home is built stronger and better. The prices for everything is outrageous but I understand where they are coming from.

      • Anonymous says:


        Joe Blow working out of his beat up SUV is considered my equal.

        and the sad part is the people hiring these individuals are not even getting that much of a discount.

        People should consider the larger picture and hire reputable firms.

        but saving $50 is more important wait until you have an electrical fire or a leak in your roof, or you come home and your house is flooded.


        • Anonymous says:

          I am one of these Joes that work out of a beat up SUV.

          My job is mainly repairing the disasters created licensed contractors, plumbers, electricians.
          I work at half your rate, I don’t need a new truck.

          Many people can not afford your rates to install a new kitchen or renovate a bathroom. That is where I come in.

          By the way, one of you licensed contractors flooded a house, because he got fired from a job. Typical caymanian.

          My advise to my costumers is to stay away from caymanians and jamaicans. It is all about the money for these guys and they WILL rip you off and do a bad job.

          I am sure there are exceptions, though I have not met any of them yet.

          We don’t need a builders law. We need a consumers protection law to deal with licensed criminals.

          • Anonymous says:

            Given your proper English I don’t think you are working out of your beat up suv!!!!

          • Anonymous says:

            from your negative comments about a Caymanian…

            I trust you are one of those Canadian, Australians, etc… WHO NEVER WANT TO LEAVE CAYMAN………

            simple .. go home

            • Anonymous says:

              Leaving next year.
              I used to enjoy, telling people i live in the Cayman islands, but now it has become an embarrassment.
              Your politicians are only busy with gay marriage and enriching themselves .
              It is truly disgusting how this once nice society has deteriorated as a result of corruption, crime, social injustice and religious fanatics.
              A disgrace to humanity.

            • Anonymous says:

              More of these maple leaf experts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What about insurance requirements?

  10. Anonymous says:

    i sued a contractor years ago to recover funds…he had to go miami to get funds the court ordered! why did he keep funds outta jurisdiction? he knew what he was doing…i welcome the new law….

  11. Anonymous says:

    just more ppm red tape that yet again increases the cost of doing business and the cost of living generally….
    maybe look out for more lodge connections to be rewarded…

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