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BIA needs to act quickly for homeowners ratepayers


5 December 2003

BIA needs to act quickly in the interests of
homeowners and ratepayers

Auckland City today called on the Building Industry Authority (BIA) to confirm it will act quickly to help people who own homes which local authorities nation wide consider might not comply with the building code.

Auckland’s Deputy Mayor, Mr David Hay, said today the BIA needs to understand that Auckland City was dealing with each application for a building code compliance certificate on a case by case basis.

Contrary to the BIA’s public comments, in each case where the city had doubt that a building would comply with the code, it was and would work closely with each owner or builder to explore all avenues to remove that doubt. This was made clear at a media briefing yesterday, also attended by a BIA representative.

But where the city still had doubt that a building would in any way not comply, the council had no other option at law but to ask for the building to be rectified. Where owners then exercised their choice to challenge the notice to rectify, the city would help them go to the BIA. The BIA had a statutory role to issue a binding determination.

If the BIA determined a building did comply, the council would issue a compliance certificate.

“The BIA needs to understand we are going case by case. It is the BIA’s statutory role to determine what is code compliant and what is not where the territorial authority has doubt.

“We have the nation-wide prospect of many property owners and their councils being stuck between a rock and a hard place if the BIA doesn’t act quickly: It would be irresponsible and perhaps negligent of councils to issue certificates where doubt exists. Homeowners need certainty.

“The last thing anyone needs is any delay in Wellington. The BIA needs to assure the public it will act quickly to avoid aggravating the tragedies facing homeowners – which threatens many individuals and ratepayers throughout the country. Neither party can afford any more delay. When there’s doubt, it’s the BIA’s role to remove it. I want the BIA to clearly state today what it will do when the owners of monolithic-clad properties come to it now for determinations. The whole issue has to be brought to a head and settled, “ Mr Hay said. “The BIA is the pivotal player now we have reached this stage.”

Meantime, Auckland City’s building inspection staff was already working closely with property owners affected by the council’s expanded requirements relating to monolithic claddings.

Last week the council had advised a simple low-cost fix for a minor area of doubt on one building. This made the building code compliant and a certificate was issued. The BIA had been advised of the council’s actions and it was evidence the city was acting on a case by case basis.


Note for editors:
The following advice was published yesterday on the BIA’s web site:
The Building Act specifies the matters that may be referred to the Authority and also the parties who may apply for a determination.
Applications for determination can be made about:
- Whether particular matters comply with the provisions of the New Zealand Building Code
- A territorial authority's decision in relation to the issuing, refusal or amendment of a building consent, notice to rectify, code compliance certificate or compliance schedule
- A territorial authority's granting or refusal of any waiver or modification
- Any building certifier's issuing of or refusal to issue a building certificate or a code compliance certificate
- The upgrading, if any, required when a building undergoes an alteration, a change of use, or certain types of subdivision.
The questions for the Authority will always be:
- For a proposed new building: Will this particular building comply with the provisions of the building code, and, if not, should a waiver or modification be granted subject to appropriate conditions to be specified in the determination?
- For completed building work: Does the work comply with the provisions of the building code?
- For an existing building: After proposed upgrading, if any, will this particular building comply with certain provisions of the building code as nearly as is reasonably practicable to the same extent as if it were a new building?

Ref: GC

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