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Building industry set for change

Building industry set for change

March 21,

Government measures to ensure buildings are designed and built right first time are set to affect almost everyone involved in the building industry.

Designers, architects and draftsmen, builders and sub-contractors, building owners and managers, developers, members of the public involved in building work or renovations and those involved in building sale and purchase agreements will soon become familiar with the Building Act 2004.

A wide range of changes will be phased in over a number of years up to 2009. People who contact the North Shore City Council about building projects from March 31 will find new application forms requiring a far greater level of detail and that buildings requiring consent are to be completed within a period of two years. Previously there was no time-frame for completion of building projects.

Due to the additional information required for a building consent application, local authorities now have a 20-day, not a 10-day period, in which to process applications.

Other changes mean that the New Zealand Fire Service will have input in processing applications that have a fire design for means of escape from fire and that building consents for commercial industrial buildings must be completed and issued with a Code Compliance Certificate before being occupied. In the past, occupation was allowed prior to the issue of a Code Compliance Certificate.

“The changes are to make it clearer to those in the industry what standards we expect buildings to meet. This involves more scrutiny in the building and consent process to provide greater assurance that work is completed to the standards of the New Zealand Building Code,” said North Shore City Council building consents manager, Kelvin Goode.

“Builder practitioner licensing, a new regime to ensure more certainty that capable people are undertaking building work, is also being introduced, but will not become compulsory until November 2009. It basically means that anyone who undertakes building work that requires certification will have to have undergone training and been issued with a license confirming their capabilities and authority,” added Mr Goode.

The department of Building and Housing, responsible for the Building Act 2004, is working with councils to assist in the transition to the new processes and has also set up a technical helpdesk for building officials.


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