From Building networks
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.
As most of you reading this will know, we have had 12A certificates in place within building legislation for over ten years.
These certificates are issued by IQPs to confirm that over the past twelve months a specified system has been tested, inspected and maintained as required by the Compliance Schedule.
Since the day those certificates were introduced, professionals have tried to find ways to deal with real life circumstances where these certificates cannot be issued, because believe it or not, like everything in life, processes for testing, inspecting and maintaining, don’t always go to plan.
As an example, let’s say:
In these circumstances the reporting system is, to put it bluntly… Stuffed.
Despite these fairly regular occurrences, the Building Act, 2004 has no provision to address this. Instead, there is an unrealistic expectation that things always go to plan!
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has not issued any guidance on this matter, except to reinforce what the law says (which we’ve just established is not always practical). Whilst there is currently a review on BWOFs these matters have not been addressed in ten years! Auckland Council has a long history of a Reports in Lieu procedure (none of which is mentioned within the law).
All of this leaves IQPs exposed if he or she is trying to help the client get across the line; of course they cannot misleadingly sign a statutory document, saying things have been done when they have not.
Recently, as I’m wont to do… I took steps to help resolve this for my clients. I created two documents to be used in situations like this.
I circulated these to my BuildNet members for use to try to underlie the point that IQPs must state facts and encourage owners to create a system which sees the 12A practically being issued each year on target.
I was delighted to receive feedback from a client, who had found them useful, and suggested I call these forms exactly what they are…
So I am acting on that feedback, from now on I will refer to the Defect Notice as Building Networks Form 12B and the System Status Report as Building Networks Form 12C.
Click below to download them, and please use at your own discretion.
Defect Notice - Building Networks Form 12B
System Status Report - Building Networks Form 12C