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Launch of the Diploma of Building Surveying

Hon Lianne Dalziel
12 February 2004 Speech Notes

Launch of the Diploma of Building Surveying

Address to launch the Diploma of Building Surveying
Bistro 107, Welltec, Petone, Wellington

Thank you for the opportunity to launch the Wellington Institute of Technology's Diploma in Building Surveying this morning. Steve Maharey has asked me to pass on his apologies and he regrets that he was unable to be part of today’s launch. However, he has asked me to pass on his congratulations and best wishes for this new diploma.

As Commerce Minister with responsibility for regulation of the building industry, I am particularly pleased to be able to take part in today’s events.

The Diploma we are launching today is a much-welcomed contribution to the area of industry training. We already know that New Zealand has a shortage of skilled people across many professions within the building industry, and I know that this new diploma qualification has been developed with one of these skill gaps in mind.

I am very pleased to see the response from many parts of the wider building industry, to improve its industry training. In November last year, I met apprentice number 5000 under the Building and Construction ITO. Of those, just under 1000 were modern apprentices, which makes up about 15 percent of all Modern Apprentices.

Considerable progress has been made in industry training in recent years with greater interest in the building professions, greater employer participation, better quality training, and increased investment in training from both industry and government. The results of this investment are record numbers of industry trainees in 2003. It is a clear win-win for the trainees and for the industry.

And it is a relief to me with my other portfolio responsibility of immigration. I don’t know how many times when fronting the industry that I have had calls for easing the entry of skilled building and allied professionals. Although I have achieved that with the new skilled migrant category and new work to residence options, I have always taken the opportunity to remind industry that it is their responsibility to commit to the industry training needed to secure the future requirements of the industry.
Today’s launch also reinforces the benefits of collaboration. The Wellington City Council has been an integral part of the development of this new qualification, and I would like to thank Wellington's Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, and her team for work they have done, together with the staff of Welltec in developing this diploma. The skills being offered through this diploma course will be focussed on what the Council needs, both now and in the future, with its relevance for existing and new building officials..

This work fits very comfortably within the wider framework of the improved regulatory environment the government is developing for the building industry.

As you may know, I took on responsibility for the building industry reforms just over a year ago. Shortly afterwards, both the Hunn report and the report of the Select Committee Inquiry into the Weathertightness of Buildings in New Zealand identified the problems associated with the weathertightness issue as multi-faceted and systemic, with all parts of the industry and building control framework coming in for criticism. Since then we have come a long way down the road to putting in place the foundations for the changes that are needed.
My vision has been, and will continue to be, to create an industry founded on the notion that buildings should be designed and built right first time.

Following an extensive consultation process led by the Ministry of Economic Development, I introduced a new Building Bill into Parliament which is a comprehensive re-write of the Building Act 1991. The Bill introduces a licensing regime for building practitioners, an accreditation regime for building inspectors and a certification regime for building products and processes.

Once enacted, the legislation will require building consent authorities to demonstrate that they have competent and qualified building professionals and staff. Accreditation will require industry standards to be raised. As is the case with most legislation, the devil is in the detail. The final detail of what will be required for building consent authorities to achieve accreditation is still under development and there is an implementation phase of three years for territorial authorities to become accredited.

So while I wholeheartedly support this training initiative, I would also like to suggest that to remain relevant to the industry and to maintain a lead in the building inspection sector, the Diploma of Building Surveying will probably need to evolve and develop to reflect the detail of policy as it develops. I encourage Welltech to liaise closely with the Building Industry Authority as the building consent authority accreditation process takes shape.

In conclusion, I have indicated in previous speeches that I have been overwhelmed by the enormous goodwill shown by industry stakeholders and their commitment to this reform process. This goodwill has been demonstrated once again by the collaboration between Welltech and the Wellington City Council. May I offer my congratulations to both organisations for the development of the Diploma in Building Surveying and wish those who take the opportunity it represents all the very best. NZ’s built environment will be the better for it.


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