Minimising business risk

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If you look under “General” in most trade sections of any building specification you see a list of documents referred to in that particular section.
Take the concrete trade of MasterSpec BASIC 2006, which is used by many consultants for residential work. This lists five New Zealand Standards and one Australian/New Zealand Standard.

Do you know what these are or, more importantly, what is in them? If you don’t, you are placing yourself and your business at risk!
Last year I saw a concrete house floor with a huge hump in it across the width of the dwelling. It was so bad that to take up the different levels, the roof trusses had been notched over the top plate through the centre of the house.

The builder advised the floor had been boxed, poured and finished by a subcontractor who had been recommended to him.
This brings me to the point of wondering why the builder was not supervising the work in the first instance and, second, why were the builder and the concrete contractor not following the requirements of New Zealand Standard NZS 3114:1987 Specification for Concrete Surface Finishes?

This standard sets out, among other things, acceptable examples of the various surface finishes and tolerances for abrupt deviations or offsets and gradual deviations from type U1 to type U11 class finish (it must be noted there is a different tolerance for exposed concrete, thin sheet tile and/or carpet).

Without knowledge of the contents of this Standard how do you know what is an acceptable industry standard?
Failure to meet the Standard can be very expensive to remedy and is not a “good look” — as far as your client is concerned — when remedial work or even complete demolition and replacement needs to take place.

There are more than 600 building-related Standards affecting our industry, many of which you need to be aware of.
Take timber Standards NZS 3602 and NZS 3603, or the all-important NZS 3604, and let’s not forget about
AS/NZS 3012:2003 Electrical Installations — Construction and Demolition Sites. Do you have the power cord on your site toaster sandwich maker tested and tagged?

I could go on listing these, but for a very small fee and for Registered Master Builders only, you can access and download any of these documents direct from the Standards New Zealand online service via the RMBF web site link.
So why wouldn’t you do this? The ongoing cost benefits for your business will be huge.

Last year our members saved more than $4.1m by joining the RMB/Standards New Zealand scheme, and this was just in savings on the Standards themselves, let alone the benefits you reap from following the right Standards on site!

Can your business afford not to?