As the construction industry enters a new period of product certification under the 2004 version of the Building Act, the question still remains: What criteria should be used to decide whether a product complies with the performance requirements of the Building Code?
The problem is that there are numerous standards in different countries as well as ones used internally by manufacturers to decide whether a product does or does not work.
It’s like a great confetti mix of standards. The challenge is working out what ones should be used in New Zealand. There are standards here, but they only cover about 1% of all the building products used in New Zealand.
Currently, the Building Code lists a series of performance requirements that must be met, but there is no direction on how this should be achieved.
The Building Act gives some direction for some situations, but it does not cover every circumstance. The Act says either an expert must certify the product, or one of a series of basic guidelines must be followed.
These were developed by the Department of Building and Housing and rushed through between 2002 and 2004. These are not ideal and need to be re-evaluated.
The Auckland City Council, for one, has a problem with some of them. It has introduced its own standard for roofing membranes. The council believes that in the absence of a decent standard, it will dictate what it should be.
This, coupled with the need to introduce standards where none exist, is why detailed research is needed to determine what suits New Zealand’s building requirements.
Recognising the problem, BEAL has come up with the first step in the process to sort the situation out. We will outline a number of research proposals that we believe need to be undertaken.
We will then carry out the research required, in conjunction with the building industry. This can be expected to lead to the development of relevant standards.
We are now seeking suggestions from the building industry as to what research or standards would help them in their industry sectors.