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No place for woolly thinking in new building law

No place for woolly thinking in new building legislation

There is no place for ill-defined and “woolly” references to sustainable development in the proposed new Building Bill the Chairman of the Construction Industry Council, John Pfahlert, said today.

“Sustainable development is a worthy objective to be applauded, but should only be included in the proposed Bill if the concept is clearly defined.

“It is probably appropriate for the Bill to contain a specific purpose statement related to water conservation and efficiency; energy conservation and efficiency, and provision for the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar power.

“But if the regulator is required to take these matters into account in the development of the Building Code under a principle of sustainable development without clear guidance as to what parliament intends as the outcome, the path will be open either for prolonged litigation or unenforceable law.

“The costs of achieving clarity can be considerable if the intent of legislation is not clearly defined. The legal profession tend to be the only group that gains when the intent of legislators is not well set out in the laws they pass.

Mr Pfahlert pointed to the years of uncertainty created within the planning profession over the inclusion of the concept of “sustainable management” in the Resource Management Act in 1991 as an example of the problems that can be created over a poorly defined concept in law.

He pointed out that the proposals for including the concept of sustainable development in the Building Bill were not consulted on by the Ministry of Economic Development earlier in the year, and had only recently been made public.

“It is likely to be key feature of submissions by industry to the select committee” said Mr Pfahlert

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