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NZers having their say on future buildings

18 September 2006

New Zealanders having their say on future buildings

Building Issues Minister Clayton Cosgrove says he is pleased with the strong public involvement in the New Zealand Building Code Review that has seen more than 300 submissions received in the first formal consultation round.

Submissions on the Government's discussion document "Building for the 21st Century - Review of the Building Code" closed on 31 August 2006.

Mr Cosgrove said submitters ranged from individuals to industry groups and associations, as well as councils to design professionals. Two thirds of submissions were made online.

"This review is a significant opportunity for New Zealanders to help determine how we work towards a future of safe, healthy homes and buildings which promote wellbeing and sustainable development," he says. "It is great to see Kiwis staking a claim in their housing future by getting involved."

The Code sets performance-based standards for building design and construction, and this is its first substantive review since its introduction in 1991.

“While submissions are yet to be analysed, most of the initiatives proposed in the review were positively received,” said Mr Cosgrove. "For example there appears to be strong support for improved energy performance and more efficient water use in the Code."

Mr Cosgrove said there was also support for building designs that would better enable people with disabilities to live at home, and for buildings to be better able to withstand natural risks such as earthquake, flood and land subsidence.

"However submitters also recognised the difficulties in applying the principles universally, and the need to balance those risks with affordability. Another factor to bear in mind as we move forward to a new Building Code is balancing short-term cost with long term benefits – for example where insulating a house leads to major savings on power and gas bills," he said. "These sorts of issues have to be worked through after the submissions are analysed."

Mr Cosgrove said this round of submissions would help shape a second discussion document with detailed performance criteria, to be published next year. The review is scheduled for completion in November 2007, with the Code projected to take effect in 2008.

The review is part of the Government's suite of changes to transform the building sector, including the licensing of building practitioners while protecting the Do-It-Yourself tradition, the auditing and accrediting of Building Consent Authorities, enhancing the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service to achieve faster, better outcomes for home owners, introducing a financial assistance pilot for the worst affected owners of leaky homes, product certification and investigating a home warranty insurance scheme.

“All these measures are designed to ensure that New Zealanders' homes are built right the first time,” said Mr Cosgrove.


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