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Investigation into timber allegations - update

Hon Maurice Williamson Building & Construction Minister


19 December 2008

Investigation into timber allegations - update

"I have received a report on the investigation into allegations concerning the use of non load-bearing timber for trusses and frames," says Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson.

"I am pleased to say that the report supports our initial findings that there is no immediate public safety risk from this practice. I'm also pleased to say that because of the action taken to investigate this issue quickly there is much greater awareness of the requirements around the use of appropriate timber.

"However, evidence has been uncovered which shows a manufacturer may have breached the Fair Trading Act 1986.

"As alleged breaches of The Fair Trading Act are investigated by the Commerce Commission, the Department of Building and Housing will refer its report, and the name of the manufacturer, to the Commission for further investigation.

"A second manufacturer was investigated but there do not appear to be grounds to take further action in this case. It would not be appropriate to name any frame and truss manufacturer.

"During the Department of Building and Housing's investigation further allegations about a small number of other frame and truss manufacturers were made to the Department. The Department is continuing its inquiries into those allegations. If any further incorrect uses of non load-bearing timber are identified, this will be covered in a further report to me.

"The Department of Building and Housing has prepared guidance material for local councils to assist building consent staff in assessing buildings constructed of non load-bearing timber for unfit purposes. The Department will also work with the timber industry to clarify standards for timber grading and marking of timber. I expect this work to begin as soon as possible in the New Year.

"I continue to urge anyone who has concerns to contact their local council for advice. The same advice applies to builders, designers, and frame and truss merchants, as well as those who are in the process of, or are thinking of, building their own home. "

Notes for editors: Contact details of local councils are available on the Department of Building and Housing's website www.dbh.govt.nz or you can phone 0800 242 243 for the information.

ENDS

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