New Government must tackle building issues

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New Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson and his National-led Government have lots of issues that need addressing to get the construction industry back on an efficient footing.

The first of many is that territorial authorities are under-resourced and their inspectors inadequately qualified.
Many building inspectors with experience are now retiring. This means builders, developers and home owners are all losing money through lengthy delays in getting resource consent or building consent approvals for their projects.

With councils needing to approve an increasing number of new products entering the market, this lack of experienced inspectors is seeing councils asking those applying to demonstrate how they comply with the Building Code.

This is a difficult task, not only because of the time delays, but because there are no New Zealand standards for many products.
Another issue faced here is the belief of some councils that they should not be held responsible for approving these products. This has led to some, such as Auckland and Wellington, effectively preventing products coming into the country.

This is because of the sensitivity around many of the weathertight claims that councils are having to deal with, and the quality of supporting information.
Councils tend to be relaxed about jobs involving architects, because they are only represented in about one in 1000 claims.

The vast majority of claims are with other designers because they are not paid to scrutinise the work like architects. This leaves the council the responsibility of giving the job the final sign-off and taking on the extra liability.

Those in the industry need to unite and provide long-term solutions that are needed by both the industry and consumers alike.
The Government needs to sort this out but, in the meantime, councils are frustrating everyone concerned.

Finally, the extra costs of building associated with the Resource Management Act have become debilitating. To get a piece of land ready to build on can cost an extra $20,000 to 30,000 because of the RMA.

The Government has talked a lot about making changes to RMA legislation. This, and the other points mentioned above, must be dealt with soon. They will not only benefit the construction industry, but the national economy as well.

BEAL has looked at many of the issues and believes that a new and fresh approach by the new Government is needed for a range of complex processes and requirements.

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