Small Business Advice

Construction Contract Law Changes

If your business is involved in construction, you should be aware of these rolling changes in the Construction Contracts Act;

  • From 1 December 2015, residential and commercial construction contracts are treated the same under the Act, and adjudication and enforcement processes are improved
  • From 1 September 2016, design, engineering and quantity surveying work is included in the Act
  • From 31 March 2017 retention money withheld under commercial construction contracts must be held on trust

More information on these changes can be found here or to see a copy of the presentation that Nelson law firm Duncan Cotterill provided to our Project group members, Click here.

New Health and Safety Legislation

These new laws – effective from 4 April 2016 – have resulted from a review into the Pike River mine tragedy which found NZ stacked up really poorly against other countries in workplace health and safety. They introduce a range of new concepts and much higher penalties to ensure that all businesses, employers, contractors, directors and anyone else with influence over a business takes responsibility for workplace Health and Safety.

Click here to watch a video from Work Safe NZ chief executive Gordon MacDonald about the new laws or click here to see the health and safety risks associated with your industry.

Core Concepts

Health and Safety is no longer limited to an employer/employee scenario.

The law establishes PCBU’s – Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking – which are responsible for ensuring the health and safety as far as is “reasonably practicable”. To learn more about who is and isn’t a PCBU, watch this video. There may be multiple PCBU’s involved in the one location or project. Eg:

PCBU graphic

Workers are not PCBU’s but everyone else in the above diagram is. Each PCBU has to co-operate with the others to co-ordinate health and safety performance. Not doing so is an offence, punishable by a fine of up to $100k. PCBU’s cannot contract out of their health and safety obligations.

Under the new law, Officers are required to exercise “due diligence” to ensure PCBU’s comply with their health and safety obligations. Officers are company directors, anyone in a position comparable with a director of a company, partners or any person who exercises significant influence over the management of the business (eg chief executive). Find out more about an officer’s role by watching here.

Key Messages

  • The legislation is designed to get everyone working together to ensure the health and safety of workers.
  • Contracting is an area where people are really going to have to “step up”. To learn more about contracting under the new legislation, watch here
  • The age of the silent director in NZ is over
  • Everyone needs to consult now and document how they’ve consulted
  • Employee errors are likely to be seen as insufficient training or monitoring. It’s in everyone’s interests to be regularly trained and monitored
  • Adopt a “show me” approach rather than just “tell me”. You need to have the correct policies and procedures AND know they are being practiced.
  • Don’t turn a blind eye when you’ve got concerns – that’s a big thing.
  • Embed health and safety in everyday life.

Our thanks to Duncan Cotterill for the series of Chamber BBB workshops that it ran on this new Health and Safety legislation. Click here for a full copy of the presentation.

Financials for Not for Profit Organisations

Click Here for the Financials for Not for Profits Presentation

Health & Safety

New workplace health and safety laws become effective on April 4, 2016. These are the first significant reforms of health and safety laws in 20 years. Click here for more information on the reforms. Health and Safety is one of the topics that will be covered in the chamber’s Business Building Blocks series this year so keep on eye on our events page for this.

Click Here to see Duncan Cotterill’s Health & Safety presentation or the following 2015 H&S Expo presentations

Charities and Volunteers – Health and Safety update 2016

HASANZ Presentation

Worksafe Presentation

Hazard Testing Presentation

Nelson Forests Presentation for Expo

ACC Presentation

Why Governance Matters

John Palmer is a full time company director from Nelson with more than 20 years experience largely in the agribusiness and finance sectors. Previous chairmanships include the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board, Air New Zealand, Solid Energy and Wrighton Ltd. To watch his presentation on Why Governance Matters, click here.


For updated news, click here.