General Manager, Building Controls

Welcome to the second issue of Codewords. One of the key aims of the Building Act 2004 is to provide more guidance and information to both consumers and those in the building industry.

As part of this drive Building Controls has developed a series of Practice Advisories addressing concerns over the design and monitoring of structural elements. The first six Advisories were published in December 2004 and cover a range of areas from the bending of steel reinforcement to connection design and load paths. We call on structural engineers, building officials and the industry in general to stay alert to these issues and ensure good building site practice. 

While providing guidance, the Department is also actively seeking advice through the establishment of four advisory panels covering fire, access for people with disabilities, structure and the building envelope. This is a significant step to ensure the department is informed about emerging issues and the needs of the sector. They are composed of leading professionals in each discipline and also include staff from territorial authorities and people familiar with consumer issues. All the panels have now met, and we will have more details about their work in future editions of Codewords.

On the technical side, a reminder that the implementation date of the new Acceptable Solution for using treated timber in buildings has changed.

Previously a transition period of one year was in place for buildings with consents issued before 1 April 2004, to allow them to be finished under the old requirements. This transition period no longer applies and compliance for treated timber will be assessed against the conditions in a project's building consent, rather than against the Building Code in place at the time of completion. 

A consultation document detailing proposed changes to the scheme of insurance following the Certifier's Insurance Review was released in January 2005. During late 2003 and early 2004, it emerged that building certifiers were experiencing difficulties fully complying with the Performance Specification. Concern about these difficulties led the BIA to initiate a review of the scheme of insurance, led by Don Hunn, with a view to considering what improvements could be made.

After considering the options available, the Authority opted for a re-specification of the scheme of insurance to better meet the consumer protection standard. We expect the new Specification to be in effect by 31 March.

Building Controls is settling in well to our new structure and role. We are looking forward to continuing to work with local authorities and the building sector to implement the new regulatory framework over the coming year.

As previously announced I will be moving on from my role at Building Controls at the end of February. It has been a privilege to be part of this sector over the last fifteen months.

John Ryan

John Ryan
General Manager
Building Controls