Call to members to submit on H1/AS1 code changes

RMBA chief executive David Kelly

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly has called on members to submit on H1/AS1 code changes.

Many of you have been concerned about the H1/AS1 changes to the building code, which relate to thermal efficiency.

While we understand that the changes will result in better homes for New Zealanders, we also believe that the changes are too much, too soon. We have worked hard to bring the sector and Government together on this issue.

In partnership with NZCB, Offsite NZ and Business NZ, we jointly wrote to the Ministers of Finance, Housing, and Building and Construction to request the transition period be extended beyond the end of November 2022.

Our already stressed sector needs time to adapt methods of design and construction, alongside scaling up the production of the new materials required.

You spoke, and the Government heard. I am happy to let you know that because of your strong support for our advocacy, the MBIE has announced there will now be a short two-week consultation on whether the code changes should be delayed.

If agreed, the implementation date would be put back from November 2022 until May 2023.

In our letter to Ministers, we pointed out that H1 insulation changes within the short time frame will:

• Negatively impact the already severely disrupted supply chain, where delays are already up to six months.

• Provide too short a time given current manufacturing methods to meet updated H1 requirements, especially for windows.

• Negatively impact consumer confidence in the residential building industry.

• Further dampen demand on the back of interest rate rises, more restricted credit, and economic uncertainty.

• Exacerbate mental well-being issues which are already of great concern to those in the sector.

• Add additional cost at a time when prices are already rapidly rising and making it extremely difficult to accurately price new builds.

We also said in our joint letter that the amount of change and instability of building over the past 18 months has been difficult for many builders, especially smaller businesses where there is a lot less buffer room and margin for error.

Yet it is these small businesses that form a critical part of the fabricate of our building sector and communities.

We stressed how the construction sector is critical to the New Zealand economy. It is one of New Zealand’s largest employers, with an estimated 280,000 workers.

We argued that we need to be supporting our people and helping the industry grapple with change in a way that makes sense.

We said we were certain that implementing the H1 changes this year will impact our industry’s stress levels at a time where the current signs of stress are already too high.

Master Builders is now urging members to make a submission. It is vitally important the Government, through the MBIE’s consultation, hear from you.

We think our arguments are well informed ones, drawing, as they do, from members and the wider industry. There is power in numbers so let the MBIE hear from you.

• Consultation on this proposed amendment is running for two weeks, until Sunday, June 12, as is required by the Building Act. A final decision will be announced before July 1, 2022.

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