New laws will support housing supply and improve building product information

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New regulations have been made to support the implementation of the Building (Building Products and Methods, Modular Components, and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

“The changes to the Building Act made last year aim to support housing supply and innovation, enable faster consenting for new, innovative and efficient building methods, and improve confidence in the building system,” says Amy Moorhead, Manager Building Policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“The regulations provide important detail on how each of these changes to the Act will work in practice to support the sector to prepare,” Moorhead says.

Law changes that put in place a new modular component manufacturer scheme and improve New Zealand’s building product certification scheme will come into force on September 7, 2022.

The new modular component manufacturer scheme will enable faster building consenting for innovative building methods, and aims to increase the use of offsite manufacturing and prefabrication approaches.

“Offsite manufacturing construction methods can deliver precise, repeatable and consistent construction, and lead to higher quality products.

“This new scheme has the potential to lift productivity, improve quality and contribute to better environmental outcomes,” Moorhead says.

Under the scheme, modular component manufacturers will be able to be certified to produce modular building components. Certified manufacturers will benefit from a streamlined consenting pathway and fewer inspection requirements.

The MBIE will have a range of new responsibilities to oversee the new scheme.

Improvements to New Zealand’s product certification scheme, known as CodeMark, will see the MBIE have greater oversight of the scheme.

It will have the ability to investigate product certification bodies and product certificates, and suspend or revoke registration.

“CodeMark helps manufacturers demonstrate that new and innovative building products comply with the Building Code. These changes are vital to building innovation, and are expected to improve confidence in CodeMark and lead to improvements in consenting efficiency,” Moorhead says.

New building product information requirements will come into force in December 2023. These law changes will require a minimum level of information to be made publicly available about building products, including how they are expected to contribute to compliance with the Building Code and how they should be used.

“While the sector is facing challenges with product supply from the ongoing pandemic and increased demand, providing additional information about building products will support the sector to make informed decisions about using alternative products,” Moorhead says.

The MBIE will provide guidance for the sector to support understanding of these changes and compliance with the new requirements.

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