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Next step in Transformation of Building Sector

Next step in Transformation of Building Sector

How will our houses and buildings look and perform in future? That's the question the Government wants New Zealanders to help decide.

Building Issues Minister, Clayton Cosgrove has today launched a discussion document, "Building for the 21st Century – Review of the Building Code." The Code sets the performance-based standards for building design and construction, and this will be its first substantive review since its introduction in 1991.

"This Labour-led government is committed to ensuring New Zealanders have high quality homes and buildings that are built right the first time, and suit their needs."

“The review will change what we build and the way we build, because we expect a lot more from our buildings than we did 15 years ago,” Mr Cosgrove said. “There have been significant advances in construction technologies and in our knowledge of building products and performance. A modern Code must reflect that."

Mr Cosgrove said key issues include energy efficiency and the impacts of New Zealand’s changing population. The document proposes a wider scope and content for the Code's objectives of safety, health, wellbeing, and sustainable development.

"Our cities are intensifying, with apartment living becoming an increasingly popular option. We want buildings to provide a healthy living environment in terms of indoor air quality and temperature, noise exposure, and security, among other factors," said Mr Cosgrove. "The review must also balance short term cost with long term benefits - for example, where insulating a house leads to major savings on power bills."

Environmental factors such as climate change see the proposed introduction of coastal erosion to the Code's existing list of hazards affecting structural safety standards, as well as considering tsunami, wildfire, landslide and volcanic eruption.

Mr Cosgrove said a second discussion document with detailed performance criteria would be published next year, with the entire review scheduled for completion by November 2007. The new Code is projected to take effect in 2008.

"I urge Kiwis to stake a claim in their housing future by making a submission,” Mr Cosgrove said. "This review is a crucial element in the current transformation of the building sector, which includes the introduction of builder licensing, better outcomes for leaky-homes owners, product certification, a better consent and inspection process and consumer warranties for building work."


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