From Building networks
Rosie’s Tip of the month – Finding the Time for Learning
The most common sentence I hear is:
"We don’t have time for training"
It is a concerning trend that people in the industry do not have time to attend
workshops, in-house trainings or take time to do online training. Thus, it begs the question how do people access up-to- date information and keep on track? And whilst that may be true in these busy times – the real fact is a dedicated time set aside for training and keeping up to date is NOT a priority in YOUR organisation or to YOU.
People who succeed in finding the time have
1. Had it imposed on them
2. Or negotiated it into their employment arrangement.
Options 1 is not always the best learning as people become like hostages. My worst
day in the training room is been given a group who don’t want to be there who have
other consents, inspections etc to do and try to negotiate with me their early exit. Or worse they heckle and disrupt everyone’s learning. It screams that there is not a learning culture in the organisation, even though it may be mandatory for competency it is not valued.
But guess what your area learning never the less!
Often learning sneaks up on us - it is informal
A senior manager told me recently –
"I negotiated with my boss to have 2 hours on a Friday to dedicate to my professional studies – that may be reading time, online training, or a dedicated revision time. Otherwise it just doesn’t happen."
No one as a manager wants to play the school teacher chasing up their staff doing
their “training “homework. A different manager told me that she was sick of having to
chase up workbook completions so she could sign people off. “Adult men have turned into back into building apprentices who don’t want to do their homework and resent me chasing them up. It wastes all of our time.”
So, what to do? Tips
Step 1: As a seasoned learning and development professional myself I highly
recommend that time be set aside for it – diaries in the calendar and respected. No
matter what form of training you chose this needs to be scheduled in otherwise it
Step 2: Role model by doing it yourself.
Step 3: Make it a routine. Use staff meeting, gatherings of any sort - informal or
otherwise – call it training – bring an online or paper copy log book and get everyone
to complete their own logs. Use quizzes and short bursts of show and tell learning
like photos of jobs to stimulate discussion. Rather than being a burden – make it fun
“like the first person to bring in a photo of a COMPLYING xx” Wins a free nice coffee
This and many more tips have been put together by Lisa Ann Clifford (who manages
our online school)., Lisa is a registered teacher herself and has put together some
tips for the learner as well as for managers Download these below.
Tips for online learning for managers
Tips for online learning for learners
And in Rosie speak” Just do it. No more excuses.”
Check out our fantastic online learning options below
Coming back to work after summer holidays can be hard. People get itchy feet – the
song by the Clash comes to mind - should I stay or should I go? Is there a better job
for me or should I stick with this one that pays the bills? Shall I start my own
business or work for myself as a consultant and contract back to my employer? I’ve
been in all these positions and reflect back in my Y2K decision to leave my safe
government job to become self-employed.
What colour is your parachute was a very influential book for me and over the years I
have invested heavily in y own learning and development – because – that’s what
spins my wheels – I love learning new things and then teaching others.
During the year there are personal development plans, or competency assessments
to be done. Training becomes a necessary evil to keep up to date rather than a
pleasant journey of discovery. What does it take to do your job – are your
competencies up to date – you need to be re-registered to keep your license. Do you
need to be a genius and are you one?
So here is something a bit different for you.
This is a free assessment which takes no time at all to do.
It’s called the Genius test and it taps into your innate skills and talents. Once you
have that nailed its easy to track what type of work would be fulfilling to you. THEN
you can ask the question of whether you are in the right job or not or the right
Click here for your FREE Genius test
I’d be fascinated to know your results. Please post a comment.
(PS my is Dynamo)
For a more in-depth Talent Dynamics report you can invest $95 and get a
personalised downloadable report outlining your skills, talents and flow.
Talent Dynamic Report - In Depth
Or go for the full Monty you can invest $195 for a one hour debrief with Rosie after
you have completed the full report and suss out what this means for your career
Book your debrief here
To your success,
A few things to add to your Christmas list.
Because it’s that time of the year when you are busy finishing off projects with real Christmas deadlines looming, I thought I would take this opportunity to do an end of year review of building compliance with you. This is a chance to stocktake activity that you have commenced in 2017 and see what needs to be finished off before the New Year starts (or soon thereafter).
So here we go with a quick check-in:
Building Compliance Check-In
If you would like to talk any specific issue through or seek guidance, please call our friendly team to book in a session. We will be open until 22 December and resume again on 5 January 2018.
The Building Networks has enjoyed our association with FMANZ in 2017. Paula Barnett has joined our team and you will see her input as well as mine in the new year. Paula has been a member of the Wellington FMANZ branch and presented at the gathering in November. She is also the voice behind our recently launched FM series on our Bnets Online school to refresh your mind in a simple digestible way on building compliance that affects the FM role. Check it out here.
For more info, hook into my FREE advice and tips
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Check out our Online School courses for FM
Image credit: Claudia Hatherill - illustration
It can take ONE thing to increase productivity and healthy growth, the trick is finding that ONE thing and then applying an action on a consistent basis.
A healthy plant/organisation versus a struggling to survive one
When I first learned to grow tomatoes I learned ONE thing, just ONE, that made a huge difference in me producing edible delicious cherry tomatoes.
Pruning the laterals!
Laterals: Nice leafy green bits of the plant that grow fast and in abundance but produce NO fruit!
When you don’t prune them……they end up choking the fruit producing parts of the plant, blocking sunlight, taking nutrients, sucking the LIFE out of the branches that need all that good stuff to be productive.
Once I learned this ONE thing, and watered my plant, I grew great tomatoes.
I have found this when working with large corporate organisations through to small and medium businesses, in these environments the laterals can represent many things that distract from or prevent healthy productivity and growth.
Laterals in an organisation:
Cluttered systems, outdated processes, people in poorly matched roles, culture and environment, double handling, micro managing and the list can go on…. Don’t just look at the ‘who’ but also the ‘what’ these things can be about people but also about systems and processes.
Until these things that clutter a person’s space, mind, and process of working are pruned the real fruit cannot thrive and reach its potential and like our tomato plant the fruit can rot and go mouldy when laterals are left to run wild.
When managers, leaders and business owners are trapped into ‘putting out the fires’ that these ‘laterals’ produce often daily, they cannot possibly focus on things that will gain a better long-term productivity profile.
The business or organisation goes into ‘survival mode’ and everyone just scrambles to get work off their desk, mostly feeling a sinking sense of overwhelm and claustrophobia that consumes any creativity or clarity to function well.
When we do prune the ‘laterals’:
What to do:
If you want more training, support or development in this area for you or your team please let us know, we have run a series of in house versions of a 1 day workshop across NZ in the past few months, and will put up more public training courses as the need arises.
Contact us here
Business development, operations and communications trainer
In a Compliance or Regulatory role, you hold the balance of power. Often, it’s a monopoly service the customer does not have a choice who to go to. While we recognise this also means you have no choice when dealing with difficult customers, for today we are looking at things from a much more empowering perspective, what you can do, so when it comes to your customers experience….
You are it
The customer can be approaching you in a vulnerable way. From an imbalance of power. They are often emotional (they are stressed trying to get a consent to start building or they want to buy a house and desperate for an old CCC). These are not easy conversations as especially if the answer is “No” they can’t have what they want straight away. There is a process to follow.
It gets even more robust when there is a post recovery situation as we have learned post the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes. Other people want information fast and often it’s just not there to have.
Over time it is easy to build up a negative picture of the customer, and ‘habits’ of responding to their sometimes-unreasonable demands.
All of this can propagate a “them and us” mentality rather than we are all in this together. The people arguing did not write the rules but are battling to interpret and apply them as best they can with as less risk as possible.
I have personally witnessed the abuse dished out at Councils across the counter. It is feral! I have also seen hardened building officials wizened to this fact deliberately
Which can lead to a manager wondering why the customer feedback reports are so poor. The customer hates dealing with rules and often staff hate dealing with the customers emotions or unwillingness to follow the rules.
At a recent event one of our course participants had an interesting reflection – my paraphrase of what she said - I may not be able to change it all at once but I’m going to try changing the customer experience one person at a time.
Sometimes all it takes is a change in language, attitude, or approach. Small changes in communication, including body language, tone and words used can make BIG differences in how things evolve.
I think this person was very astute – we have choices, we can continue the ‘them and us’ battle or we can tweak our approach just a bit to try something different one person and a time – so are you willing to take up that challenge?
If this is something you or one of your team struggles with daily, we have some strategies and methods than can assist in turning this around, we have delivered this training in house to teams, but also offer our more private one on one coaching service.
Book a one on one session here
What to find out about more DIY work you can do without a building consent
Check out our online course
Many of you in building compliance are fearful of firing or ditching a client who is not taking building safety seriously. You know the one - the one who gets you in at the last minute (month 11) then doesn't use you next year. The one who promises to fix defects and a year later the same deal. The one who threatens to shop around on you if you don't give them a 12A or a BWOF.
You all know the consequences of being strong armed into signing a 12A when you shouldn't BUT are you aware of the consequences year after year of BAD CLIENT BEHAVIOUR.
Thinking about how to fire a client can be unsettling – especially if you’ve always believed that the customer is always right. But who needs the stress, the risk and the gut wrenching fear of dealing with someone who does not take safety seriously.
Here are my top tips on clients:
Prioritise your client list
1. Identify your A and B -list clients
Your A-list clients provide your most productive and profitable work.
You like working with them
2. Identify your Z-list clients
Z-list - you know exactly who I mean - they keep you awake at night knowing what's going on in their buildings - ditch them!
They are the ones who
How to ditch them
1. Check your engagement letter, contract
3. Add a PMO fee to your final bill
A client giving you the run around need a PMO fee attached to their invoice (P#ss me off) fee ;-). Or you could add surcharges for unproductive functions like:
4. Protect your reputation and brand
For what its worth YOU MAY BE OUR A-LIST client! ;-)
Rosemary (Rosie) Killip
Insights from the front line of communications training and conflict resolution- tips for improvement
What a week it has been in the world of communications coaching and training, from private sessions, small business training and a full day public workshop specifically for the building industry, I have only had solid confirmations of what I already knew.
Almost all conflict originally stems from a few things, and there is something we can all do about it before there is 'blood on the floor':
We can all take 100% responsibility for our own communication and when we make positive changes, even one small thing can create a positive ripple effect on those around us, so whilst we can’t change others we can change ourselves.
Let’s unpack a little to get better clarity on what I may mean
1.Misunderstood or misinterpreted communication
This is fuelled by our modern technology driven world, our kids being taught from a young age that communication can be done any other way than in person, faster, easier, less confronting and yes impersonal. Emails, txt messages and instant messages have their place in the world for sure, I use them every day, but they are not meant to handle every type of conversation, there is far too much room for interpretation. Important conversations should always happen in person.
I see business owners, managers, sales people ‘hide’ behind a computer or phone, and when they know they need to pick up a phone and have a chat or set up a meeting in person they send an email or txt, because its ‘easier’ ‘less confrontational’ ‘they don’t have time’ etc etc etc….
We cannot expect an electronic device or typed email to ever replace the basic human need to hear a nice voice on the other end of the phone or even better face to face in a meeting or over a coffee.
2.Difference of opinions or perceptions
I love the saying that ‘perception is reality’ this is true for us all, and if we all approached communication with others with an open mind, consider for a moment that another person may in fact have a different view but valid because its theirs, and not try to be right all the time or win an argument, we can in fact be perfectly happy in the world by agreeing to disagree.
3. Unmet expectations
Someone is late for a deadline, over promised and underdelivered, or didn’t behave in a way we expected – this is all fuel to a fire of conflict if not approached in a healthy way.
My biggest freedom from disappointment when it comes from others behaviour was when I learned to let go of my expectations, stop expecting people to be like me, think like me, communicate like me. We are all different – THANK goodness for that!
4.Hot on the heals is – Assumptions, judgements or pre-conceived ideas
My rule of thumb in most cases of life and work is never assume anything, always ASK! Or find out.
We can default to making assumptions about what people meant by that comment, email or txt, in fact we can make anything MEAN anything we like, we have a choice! Isn’t that freedom?
OR we can find out what they did mean by asking a clarifying question.
Assumptions or pre-judgements about others, what they said and did is not useful for clear and effective communication, it is not useful in creating harmonious working environments, because we as humans are self-focused we often assume wrong, make it about us personally and it was nothing to do with us in the first place! Don’t even get me started on the ‘judgement’ topic!
The great news is we are all created differently, the challenging news is…..we are all created differently!
We all need each other, we could not possibly have a functioning world full of one personality type.
I prefer to see other strengths as complimentary to mine, even the ones that are so opposite and I struggle to relate to or understand, they do things well that I don’t. They are often happy doing things I am not. They often see things I don’t, and like it or not that is necessary in some situations. Our goal in the world should be to better understand others around us not seek to change them.
Tips for improving our own communication:
Let’s change the world we live in, one conversation at a time
If you want more training, support or development in this area for you or your team please let us know, we are running a series of in house versions of a 1 day workshop across NZ in the next few months, and will put up more public training courses as the need arises.
Contact us here
Business development, operations and communications trainer
We’ve become rather scared of the word “liability” – afraid to sign documents like PS3s or 12As – who knew that paper could be so scary! Some Councils are even afraid to sign Certificates of Acceptance (even though they can limit their liability in doing so to what they have been able to see! But haven’t we always been potentially liable for work we have done or not done – for building items we have inspected or failed to see?
If we have done the right thing by the client and ourselves then what is the real issue? Is it that we have a systemic culture of short changing the clients this leading to problems for everyone down the track. Or are we just slack – far too casual in NZ to take compliance seriously?
Think about these scenarios – are these folk liable for their actions?
And all of these tiny small decisions to do the wrong thing have led to headaches, heartaches and in many cases building failure. No wonder the Hunn Report of 2002 says we have a systemic problem in the building industry and another decade has done little to improve behaviour – just made more paperwork and more folk scared.
Should the people above be worried about liability – YES – because at the heart of it they know what they have done is wrong but have got away with it – that is until a building surveyor has come along and reviews the facts and discovers the deceit. Professional indemnity cannot redeem professional negligence.
Hot Tip: If you want to avoid liability – do the right thing – be transparent
If you want to know more about liability and protecting yourself come along to our
Power Up Breakfast session 22 June 2016 in Auckland
How many of you wanted to say “NO”? That is not the right answer nor is it the right question.
The right question is: “Do these old doors still perform their function?”
The answer is YES
Sure, the doors are old and if you were installing brand new doors today they would look and work differently. BUT that is NOT the issue for ongoing compliance. Do these old doors still provide some level of protection (hey its better than if there were no doors at all. They were installed in their day for a reason (to keep smoke out to some extent from filtering through the whole corridor before we have time to get out). When they were originally installed they hopefully complied with the PERMIT.
You can’t make someone replace these old doors with new ones.
Once a building is signed off with a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) we have to maintain it until we make changes or at the worst the building. In the past (pre-Building Act) building work was given permits. There was NO CCC back then. So, you can expect to find old installations (done before 1 July 1992) that technical were supposed to comply at the time they were inspected back in history. Now these buildings have been occupied for decades. If the item we are looking at is a specified system (SS 1-15) then it should have been being maintained by law (the BWOF) since 1992 as well.
The maintenance issues here are possible damage by vandals, carpets layers who chop a bit off the door off leaving a gap, wear and tear over time leading to them swinging off their hinges, or wedges or coach hooks being used to hold them back which is a no-no. That is what I'd expect an IQP to notice, comment upon and ensure gets sorted before issuing the 12A.
Check out our short, sharp half day refresher/workshop coming up next month!
IQP Refresher SS3 Autodoors and Access Control Doors - Auckland
Gain the knowledge and skills to perform an IQP test or check for SS3 Autodoors and Access Control Doors
New Zealand local government does not have a strong culture of enforcement which it comes to building offences.
Inspectors tend to use
A lot of issues are resolved through confidential mediation settlements and only the odd few end up in court (excluding official weathertight homes claims).
However, it is important for anyone doing inspections, surveys, IQP checks or building consultancy to understand when and how to turn a regular job into an investigation. A special set of skills are needed, one of which is Note taking. If we don’t take acre and the job ends up in some form of formal procedure we may not have a leg to stand on. So here are 10 top tips for note taking in an interview.
By the way, we have filled up our MAY skills investigation course already, so if you are keen to attend one of these please let us know, we are currently building our wait-list to run another one.
Course Information And Wait-list Here
Tip: Know who you are dealing with and what they want from you
I have noticed recently how many Councils, IQP firms, BWOF companies, LBP firms, even MBIE etc make up their own rules and some of them aren't lawful (it is the cost of doing business with them, guidance, suggestion or at worst the Bluff Act!)
1. A Council cluster group requiring drainlayers to fill in LBP records of work prior to issue of CCC.
(Drainlayers are NOT LBPs, 2. A CCC cannot be held up for LBP records of work of any kind any way)
2. Compliance company filling in 12A template sending to IQP and expecting the IQP to do one site visit and sign the form.
(IQP has not seen the Compliance Schedule and has not been on the job 12 months. While the system may be fully functional after one service it is not lawful for the IQP to complete the 12A form having not seen all the requirements listed in the Compliance Schedule).
3. Biggest bluff in town - You must get a fire engineer to do a fire report for an upgrade to existing building. Now that requirement has never been and is not int he Building Act. The fire compliance analysis is not the exclusive privilege of the Fire Engineering community, an architect can do it, an IQP can do it, a FM or property manager who knows the site intimately can do it.
4. MBIE staff - you MUST supply a draft Compliance Schedule on issuing the building consent or CPU. It does not state that in the Building Act anywhere and whilst it may be handy it is not a legal requirement.
Its guidance and a suggestion from MBIE only!
5. LBP company - The Director of the company who IS the LBP but has not been to site EVER signs the record of work ticking supervision! THIS IS UNLAWFUL - do I really need to spell out why!
Now if all or some of these observations and tips offend you or make you curious then I would love to talk this through with you and put the record straight!
FOR BUILDNET members: I will be online at our favourite hangout to talk about all these on MONDAY 3 APRIL 2017 10am - 10.30am
(BUILDNET members will be sent a link to our hangout inviting you to join me)
If you are not a BUILDNET member and would like to join the conversation you can. Sign up for the basic membership package first and lets get you on the call.
Builders and specialist tradies should be proud to be LBPs, wear it as a badge of honour rather than as a second prize in the weetbix packet!
We are in a really messy time in the building industry.
While we are still coming to terms with the legacy of leaky buildings along come some earthquakes and a building boom to boot.
The Building Act rules were changed in 2004 and a heap of regulations followed. Councils got scared after all the mediations and law suits and started to be more risk adverse creating their own architecture of special rules. In the meantime, our well-meaning government de-regulated building products even further making it harder to discern between the good, the bad and the bloody awful. (PS there is more control on a kid’s PJs at our boarder than there is building product).
Health and safety rules strengthed in 2016 making it harder to get up on a roof to check things (so who checks a roof after installation and all the scaffold gone down now – NOBODY).
The Government was so concerned for the home owner voter being ripped off that they brought in onerous contractual documents – stuff builders hate because they are not paper shufflers nor lawyers they are tradies (PS I think there is huge undiagnosed dyslexia in the building industry amongst all generations who are supposed to supervise and teach others).
Its bloody messy out there!
BUT – remember where we’ve come from …
As recently as February 2012 ANYONE could be a builder or designer. YES anyone! Including someone like me – or the guy driving the taxi – off a fishing boat – out of the first – who left school yesterday.
We are living in messy times that we may not live to see come right.
We are a turning point generation. We may not reap the benefit of any of this BUT our children’s children may.
What is the building industry doing about leaving a legacy fir future generations of home owners and future generations of tradies and designers?
One day – we may find that the rules are changed on who can be a Licensed Building Practitioner. It may become a qualified – apprenticed trade – where people take pride in their work, do the right thing by the client and build someone’s dream – not because the rules say so but because its back in our hearts and culture again.
Let’s not leave NZ as a third world tip of leakers, shakers and stuff ups. Do your bit to make it right.
The job of the IQP when it comes to compliance is simple. Well I think so at least. Yet many people get this very confused.
1. They think the IQP writes the BWOF - NO - they can act as owners agent but that's a different hat
2. They think the IQP is there to sign off compliance - NO - they are there to ensure testing and maintenance has been done on the system to keep it working.
3. They think the IQP can add equipment and make design choices (eg. there's not enough fresh air in here, or you need to add an alarm). NOPE - not the IQPs job.
1. Get the Compliance Schedule (from owner, owners agent, or Council), note instructions on your system and the birthdate of the Compliance Schedule
2. Cross check the info is correct and gets owners permission to change if not
3. Get the referenced standards, checksheets named in the Compliance Schedule
4. Make up test sheets, checklists and set up routines on-site
5. Train owners /occupiers and techs what to do
6. Turn up at the alloted times and do the work or ensure it has been done
7. If all is on target sign the 12A and deliver to owner/ or their rep by target birthday anniversary
(I will cover what to do if things are wrong in a new upcoming video).
Rosie - out
Rosemary (Rosie) Killip
Final exits and signs in commercial buildings have been checked by law for over two decades. So.. how often should they be checked.
Answer: check the Compliance Schedule for THAT building. Commonly it is daily when in use for Crowd buildings and monthly for all others. (refernce MBIE: Compliance Schedule Handbook)
If that’s how often they are being checked then why do we see defects or straight out fails or bad installations? Recently I was out and about and came across this exit in a carparking building. The building was old its obvous the escape route and exit signs DO NOT comply with current Building Code for the C docs not F8 – they don’t have to but are they safe and do they function as intended when they were installed? I did wonder if an IQP would pass it, defect it and/or report it? Then I wondered about how Worksafe would see it through their different glasses.
If you’d like to know more about this come along to one of our workshops on IQP Testing for ss15/2 Final Exits and SS 15/4 Signs where we will cover:
Last year I stayed in a hotel that had a power cut. It was incredibly dark and I was thankful for three things:
When it comes to emergency lights we often think the "emergency" relates only to fire but it could be any number of things: earthquake, flood, attack, and like our Ozzie cousins right now a power surge due to overloading of the system as aircons try to cope with extreme heat conditions.
Emergency Lights come into their own when we least expect it. But they have to actually be there and be tested and be in a state of readiness. That's the job of the IQP to make sure this happens. Take a look at this photo - who thought it was a good idea to put it over a fan?
While they aren't complicated systems there are rules around:
All this and more is covered in our IQP Refresher Course in Emergency Lights.
For details on this upcoming course click HERE.
Belated Happy New Year folks, as most of you know the 1st of January was an unusual start to new Pool Fencing legislation but it is live and kicking now and I've been back in the thick of pool training in Wellington, Christchurch and Hastings. Some Councils have always had a proactive approach to pool audits, are on top of their database register, correspondence and approaches. Others are literally starting from scratch.
I have found there's a bit of misunderstanding out there so here's a few tips:
1. The Law has been passed. The correct reference is the Building Act 2004 NOT the Pools Amendment Act and NOT FOSPA. SO take a good look at your websites, checklists and reference materials to the public.
2. F9 NZ Building Code clause is now published and available HERE
3. The Acceptable Solutions AS1 and AS2 are not yet published. Indications from MBIE that they will be available late March. But as consents for pool barriers are coming across your desks now you have to assess against what the Code is and NOT wait for the acceptable solutions.
My advice go conservative and careful in approving anything less that what will comply with the old schedule 1 of FOSP 1-10 found HERE
4. Up to now lockable lidded spa pools never complied. Only pools that are 760mm in height and have a lockable lid with no more than 5m2 will be exempt from being inspected going forward. It will be the owners job to manage the risks.
5. The issue of Bi-fold doors as a means of compliance has not been fixed. They didn't comply with a top bolt and they don't now either
6. 3 yearly inspections time frame for inspections has already started 1/1/2017.
Want to know more?
links to MBIE website HERE
We have two-day courses for folk wanting to become private Pool Inspectors (IQPIs) which Council officers are welcome to attend too. We are also running some one day and half day customised in-house training for Council officers and customer service staff who are the front of asking questions on pools. If you would like a session brought to you just call our friendly team who can organise this for you.
2 Key points to consider and 6 Questions to help assess the risk involved in big decisions
What has building law and compliance got to do with brand reputation? Perhaps everything.
After a recent case in the news and conversations with those who’s job it is to ensure these rules are kept I have identified 2 key ways that choosing to cut corners on a business renovation, new build or building Health and Safety compliance could impact a business, brand and reputation in the community and market.
2.BRAND and reputation
One is sometimes recoverable the other not so straight forward.
My background is in marketing, business development and brand management, and lately I have been reminded how cutting corners even in the building industry can impact more than just your bank account, it can also impact your brand and reputation in the community and market place.
The irony about the #1 impact, Money, which is often first looked at, is that usually this is the primary reason for noncompliance in the first case, people wanting to SAVE money.
Lets look at brand and reputation, a much more ‘sticky’ spot for any business to find themselves, I have chosen to pick on a recent case that was publicised in the papers. This is a big topic and I realise that not every case has the same history, details or reasons but overall I believe my principals around brand and reputation apply in all cases.
Considering the recent successful prosecution of the blueberry and ice-cream brand OOB, one of the largest publicised fines handed down for building noncompliance in a while, I got to thinking about the brand impact of those early decisions made by the business owners.
Business is successful, it grows it needs more space. Or new business needs a building or more space in an existing one. Decisions are made! Sometimes advice is sought and in all fairness not given well or with the right intentions, in some cases advice may be ignored to save the immediate costs.
Either way that series of decisions, whatever the journey to make them, has cost this business a hefty $26k fine plus legal costs in money but maybe more importantly what has it cost them in reputation.
Some consumers may not realise or think deeply about what it can mean to not comply to the government standards for safe buildings and carry on eating the ice-cream without a care. I would say this is a minority though and I would like to think that most consumers in NZ expect the companies we claim ownership of in our clean, green and proud nation are providing not only a quality product but also a safe working environment for the staff and visitors.
I opened my freezer this morning to discover that the brand of blueberries I was about to enjoy for breakfast is in fact OOB! Immediately, I thought “oh those are the silly beggars who didn’t think they needed to comply to the building laws in NZ” I ate the blueberries, but I must say that I will think twice before purchasing their brand again.
They may have taken advice that set them up for a fall, but all business owners must realise the BUCK stops with them, and so does the reputation of the brand and company, who’s picture was in the paper with the big write up? The owners.
WHY such a harsh line? I hear you say…. Well what else, let’s not sit by and wait until another building collapses in a serious earthquake or fire killing or injuring people before we realise that the building laws are there to protect us all, and our families. Bottom line is that building laws save lives, and a company or organisation that constantly ignores the safety of the people they have in their buildings gives out a deeper message to the market and community they run in, they are more concerned about profit, expense cutting and time saving than people’s lives.
Strategically it is always good practice to think through decisions, if this is not someone’s skill set they should seek help from someone who has this ability, to think through future projections, risk factors and possible scenarios. Above all else, the person or people who the ‘buck stops with’ need to take full responsibility for understanding any laws that may apply and factor them in from the start.
6 questions a business/Organisation could go through when making expansion or moving decisions around buildings, office space, manufacturing spaces, retail spaces and more
1. Do you (or your contractors) know what you can do in your building without building consent?
2. With any consented work have you finished the projects with a CCC?
3. What is the Gap assessment between what our building has now and current Code?
4. If we have a BWOF in our building and are all our systems safely working?
5. Do the right people on our organisation know what risks exist in our building and what we are doing to manage them in plain English
6. Could anyone get hurt, anytime in the future because of these decisions?
From a business strategy perspective, a good old fashioned cost analysis of any project should always include building compliance laws, cost of any upgrades and getting council consent.
If the project can’t fit into the budget it is not time to cut corners and potentially risk limbs and lives, it is time to look at alternative venues, buildings, or options.
Here is to a safer NZ
Business Development Manager
Is this Mother Nature’s way of pointing out how vulnerable we are?
Natural disasters have a way of reminding us how much we take for granted the services we rely on… Power, drinking water, waste water, rubbish collection, to name a few. When those basic services are taken away we adopt old school survival tactics; but being separated from love ones plus enduring dislocation and/or physical harm, ensure that basic fight or flight responses kick in, as fears both real and imagined come into play. It can take some time to come down from that adrenalin high or to climb out of the cocoon we have built in the hope of protecting ourselves.
The three stages of survival following a natural disaster - (According to Rosie)
The following points are based purely on my own observations, they have no scientific measurement. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you my reflections on the three stages of survival following a natural disaster.
In first response mode, we are just grateful for any figure of authority to inform us what is going on and provide instructions, provisions and sometimes comfort. At this time, we see another side of building inspectors than we would normally. In these circumstances, they are often welcome guests whereas in a normal situation they are too often vilified for just doing their job of compliance.
The general public are unhappy about displacement from their apartments, shops or offices. Understandably, we want to get back to normal as soon as possible; after all routine makes us feel safe.
Eventually things get back to a new normal and then our expectations start to rise again.
In some cases, the getting back to normality may be fairly fast and this can be psychologically beneficial as we adopt familiar routines and habits.
Over time, as routines return, we get complacent and take for granted the very things we valued so much just a few weeks before.
Our thinking minds kick back into gear. And sometimes the fear turns into anger and frustration. We want somebody to blame, and we want some reassurance this won’t happen again. Sadly, this particular want can never be satisfied, by anyone!
Despite safety being a basic bottom tier need on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Nobody, be that an engineer or a building inspector can absolutely and categorically guarantee any other person’s safety in a building.
The very next event could blow all the theories out of the water.
It’s easy to be critical of a building’s suitability after a disaster and expect its performance to exceed that of the era it was built in. But one must remember a building has to be under 33.3 per cent of current code to be deemed an earthquake prone building! That low threshold gives a lot of leeway and a lot of unknowns about the buildings at say 45 – 50 per cent.
Strangely, when it comes to buildings we don’t expect fire compliance or insulation to sit at 33.3 per cent of code, these must be 100 per cent. But structural changes to buildings are intrusive and expensive. It’s important to remember that in emergency or extraordinary circumstances New Zealand’s building code is designed ensure residents can evacuate a building safely, it is not designed to make the building 100 per cent usable the next day.
During recent events, most buildings have performed as expected. a smaller number have failed.
The reality is that we live in a country which is prone to earthquakes and the world as a whole is seeing weather extremes with huge environmental effects. Add to this mix, a huge stock of old buildings that were never built to modern building code anyway and we have a melting pot of instability. But remember that if the Government made a rule overnight that every building had to meet 100 per cent of the building code, the country would be bankrupt. Even then, there would be no guarantee that those buildings would be safe to occupy after 14000 aftershocks (the number experienced after Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2012).
We are damned if we do upgrade, and damned if we don’t.
Let’s start the conversation from a basis of acknowledgement that nobody can take responsibility for our guaranteed safety in the face of natural disaster.
Are you a facilities manager? Are you going to be a facilities manager? If you are… In the words of every great DJ… This one’s for you!
It’s important to remember that not everybody with a career in facilities management comes from a building background. There’s an awful lot to this role, which people don’t always consider, you’ll needs to know about…
Q: Where does all that leave the Facilities Manager?
A: Usually relying on experts, who could be amateurs!
I’ve been in the building business for over twenty five years, and here’s my #1 piece of advice…. If somebody says, "Your building or system does not comply"… Get a second opinion!
This will save you from spending money you might not have or that could be used elsewhere.
I have recently seen a number of reports that suggest there is a group of amateurs out there telling people to address issues because their building is unsafe. Sometimes, it’s just that the building is old, that doesn’t always mean it doesn’t comply and it certainly doesn’t mean that it needs to be upgraded.
Most commonly I see reports on fire systems that are not required upgrades, simply recommendations and choices for the facilities managers to make.
Of course, the difficult part is knowing where to kick back and what to go ahead with, especially when these reports may leave the board of directors exposed to safety risk.
The solution - Ask your local council, ask us here at Building Networks, or ask your fellow professionals in Facilities Management who they would use, or how they would proceed.
What work can be done for tenancy fit outs and renovations?
See this booklet from MBIE on what work in commercial buildings does not need consent; or get training from us at Building Networks.
Changes of Tenancy
Some tenancy changes lead to building works and a legal change of use under the Building Act.
This means that there are six additional assessments on the whole building. That can be expensive and some buildings are not purpose built and would be better off leased to a limited range of options rather than incur huge costs for upgrade.
Which buildings need a BWOF and who should look after it?
The Building Act says the building’s owner is responsible that could mean you. If you farm it out to an agent how do you know they are doing the right thing?
Check out this booklet from MBIE on what work in commercial buildings does not need consent or get training from us at Building Networks.
You could also start by reading our free e-book, Beginners Guide to Building Law HERE.
Or contact us for a free 30-minute session with Rosie.
We are a young country - and some of our historic classified buildings wouldn't even get on the radar in other countries. In NZ we have a building code which has been around since 1992. At that time one code clause called B2 durability was first published.
Breaking it down simply
There are three nominated time periods
Building elements should last at least 5, 15, and 50 years
These timeframes kick in when the code compliance certificate is issued at the end of a consent. Not when the building is practically complete
Owners may be able to obtain a B2 modification (a process I will explain in another blog) but the longer they wait the more unlikely it gets.
Download B2 durability document here
The answer is many!
This article is a slight step away from those I have written lately. I was inspired to compose it having read this column by Nigel Latta.
Perhaps the paragraph within the editorial that most resonated with me, is this one…
“Too often people think if they learn a trade they'll just be swinging a hammer their whole life. If they got some experience in the industry they'd see there are opportunities for management roles that come far sooner than if they studied management at varsity. They could operate complex, multi-million dollar machines - and get well paid for it.”
Over thirty years ago, one would often hear it said, “if you want to be successful, go to university and get a degree.” And this sentiment hasn’t much changed over the following decades.
As it happens, I did follow that path, and it worked for me; but there were folk I went to school with who were street smart and practical, who have since created successful businesses, many within the building sector.
It causes me concern when I see more law and accounting graduates than there are jobs for. It would seem the universities have no accountability to those who have taken on a huge student loan to ensure they get a job with which they can repay it! I believe it is irresponsible of all of us to allow this to continue.
Too frequently, people think the only job available within the building industry, is that of a builder! But there are so many more on offer, and BCITO do not cover the entire breadth of building and construction industry apprenticeships.
Many people have been doing great work to promote the trades, but unless parents, the public, school career’s counsellors and teachers understand how diverse the opportunities are within the building industry, we will be left having to import the expertise we need; which is exactly what we are doing right now!
Sadly, the forecast continuation of the building boom has not generated new training and recruitment strategies!
I urge you to help spread the word, however and wherever you can, of the vast variety of opportunities available within our industry.
If I asked you whether you believed the safety of people in buildings was of paramount importance, I’m sure you would say yes; as would I, my whole career is based on this premise. But let’s not forget the relevance of factual backup in reports that suggest otherwise, because, I am also an advocate for truth and clarity, and I’ve seen too many situations where building owners are being ripped off.
It’s important to separate legal compliance requirements versus recommendations.
All too often I hear or read… xyz does not comply, when, in fact, there is no factual basis, but instead, the statement is based on a personal opinion of what a person may consider is best for somebody else.
A couple of examples…
Below are a couple of examples of reports I've seen recently which are, for want of a better expression, absolute hogwash! It greatly concerns me that a person has paid good money for bad advice. Worse than that, they will get suckered into spending hard earned dollars that they do not need to. Rosie alert… Buildings can be old but still function!
Example #1 - The toilets do not comply with NZS 4121 the design for access standard.
No kidding! The building was built in the 1960s before the standard was even written. It would be more useful to document one’s findings in a constructive way. As an example, reference a grab rail that may be incorrectly placed, with a recommendation of replacement and why it is important.
Example #2 - The balustrade is 1000mm high and does not comply with the building code rule of 1100mm.
It’s important to consider the part of the Building Code that is referenced here. If you don’t know, it’s F4/AS1 safety from falling. But it’s just as important to consider the age of the building and reference the same code. Because, in this particular instance, when the balustrade was constructed the Code read 1000mm, so it does comply for its age. (see previous tabel 1 from F4/AS1)
As a building owner or purchaser you should be wary of false statements in -
Any reputed professional who doesn’t know about the history of the building code and historic permit requirements should be very careful about similar statements. They should do their homework and make a very large distinction between what is legally required under building law, versus a recommendation from another regulation or owner risk management preference.
With over twenty years’ experience within the building industry I have a reputation for being a straight shooter and sometimes a little harsh. I’m happy to take that, because I care that my building industry clients get the correct advice and information.
I'd rather they hear it from me, than their local council in the middle of a dispute or a judge in a court of law!
For up to date information on New Zealand building law, stay connected with BuildNet. An online community where you get the support and additional information you need when you need it. The power of having an expert on hand plus the collective wisdom and experience of the other members.
(Previous version of F4/AS1: Second Edition)
Last week I went to Christchurch, where I attended the inaugural national Construction Industry Forum led by the Registered Master Builders Association (RMBA).
The forum aimed to bring the industry together to discuss sector issues and create a platform for resolving those issues collaboratively.
There was a lot of high level discussion about important issues like urban planning, social housing and availability of land. Did I mention it’s a national event? Because, in all honesty, you’d be forgiven for thinking the only cities in New Zealand are Auckland and Christchurch! Now if there's one thing we’re not short of in New Zealand, it’s land… There’s plenty available in central and southern New Zealand, yet, it is the golden triangle issue that dominated.
Once we get past the land availability some of the issues raised over the forum are easily fixed.
These solutions make planned buildings easy to draw, easy to get consent for, quick to build and easier to sign off.
What I couldn’t believe…
The Building Act 2004 wasn’t mentioned once over the course of the day. If I didn’t know differently, I’d assume this meant there are no problems with building consents or delays in construction.
There was another elephant in the room… Nobody mentioned the problematic issue of joint and several liability. If council’s liability is not limited, then each of the Building Control Authorities will remain risk averse, and continue to take actions that mitigate rate payer’s risk.
Those of you reading this will know I’m no wallflower; I’m quite happy to stand up and speak in public. It’s what I do for a living, and with over twenty years’ experience within the building industry, I could have hogged the mic with numerous questions and comments. I was disappointed that the audience didn’t get an opportunity to workshop or share their many years of experience and collective wisdom by discussing sector issues and creating a platform for resolving those issues collaboratively, the self-proclaimed aim on the forum, (see the website).
I fear that this forum, Constructive, missed its mark entirely. Some of the Master Builders I met in the room were from the provinces, and any issues raised at the forum were not real or specific enough for the truths to be told and tackled, let alone resolved.
Dave Kelly is the chair of the NZCIC representing the peak bodies across the sector. I sat on that committee myself many years back. Many people say that nobody brings this group together, and this astounds me when there has been a group in existence for twenty years. At the end of the day the club of suits need to sit around the table with Bill English and the Prime Minister to make decisions about the big issues like social housing and the Auckland crisis. The rest of us will be the recipients of those decisions and will no doubt have our own battles in the trenches.