THE Taiwan Government's new regulations to standardise and control the construction industry are expected to affect building firms substantially when they come into force in six months. The Housing Act will compel the more than 5,000 construction companies to meet requirements on the number of professionals employed and their expertise, as well as the amount of capital needed to set up a company. Officials have predicted that about half the companies will not be able to meet the standards and could be forced to close. There are a handful of large construction companies but the others are mainly small and medium-sized. The Housing Act is due to be launched first as an administrative order but officials of the Ministry of Interior say it will eventually become a legal document, but no date has been set. Jia-Hsing Hsiao, director of public housing under the ministry's construction and planning administration, said developers and construction companies would have to submit construction plans and financial details to banks' construction management companies for scrutiny and evaluation before they received loans. They would have to show their ability to construct and finance the development projects. At the moment, loans could be awarded based on the construction company's relationship with the bank, Mr Hsiao said. The administration would award marks or symbols to each construction company so purchasers could identify the standard of quality of the products from the different symbols. Each company would have to employ 10 professionals in the field before it was approved. The authorities would also check the balance sheets of the companies periodically. Mr Hsiao said the new regulations would raise the quality of construction and protect the interests of consumers. Another department of the ministry, land administration, will release guidelines for sale agreements for uncompleted flats within a month. The director of the administration, Yuan-Shiuh Chang, said the move was necessary because of the number of conflicts in property transactions, most over the sale of uncompleted flats. 'As the sale agreements are written by the construction companies, they tend to be in the companies' interests and not the consumers'. Consumers are often led by the nose,' he said. It is estimated that every year there are 1,000 conflicts with and complaints against companies by buyers of uncompleted flats. Flat purchasers will be allowed to take home the sale agreements for five days to study the terms carefully. Advertising for property developments by companies must be realistic and not exaggerated. The type of land - residential or industrial - on which developments are to be built must be specified in agreements. Mr Chang said purchasers sometimes did not know they had bought property on cheaper industrial land. The actual space delivered on completion could differ only by one per cent with the floor area promised in the agreement. Mr Chang said construction companies were receptive to the guidelines because they encouraged more people to buy and invest in property.