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Urgent Action To Stop Building Industry Collapse

2 October 2002
Media Release

Mayor Calls For Urgent Action To Prevent Building Industry Collapse

Mayor of Manukau Sir Barry Curtis says the Building Industry Authority (BIA) has days to take urgent action or the entire building industry will grind to a halt.

“One certifier’s been forced to stop work because the BIA have not renewed their license. In no way was that decision made on the company’s professionalism. It’s about insurance companies pulling out of the market both here and internationally. Other certifying companies have told us they expect to be in the same situation within a few weeks.

“Unless the BIA takes urgent steps to address insurance and certification issues and ensures certifiers can continue to operate there will be major economic impacts on everyone who has an existing building project. That’s the immediate concern,” said Sir Barry.

“The BIA, in accordance with the Building Act, lays down the conditions under which private certifiers obtain certification. The government should intervene to organise appropriate insurance cover.

“The other major concern is the sense of hysteria on the ‘leaky building’ issue to the detriment of an entire industry. The country needs to keep some semblance of calm in the face of these over inflated claims about the extent of the problem.”

“In Manukau, and I suspect elsewhere in the country, the case for leaking or rotting buildings is not as big as has been claimed. We process 4000 consents each year. Since 1997 we’ve issued approximately 20,000 consents and only had 14 claims relating to weather-tightness issues. Eight of those were settled without legal action. Private certifiers and the other industry groups have indicated very few, if any, claims themselves.”

“Without diminishing the effects of those claims on individuals, the issue is still at a manageable level and could be worked through in a measured way without the need to force people out of business or other catastrophic results.”

“There can be no one solution for a kaleidoscope of issues and it’s wrong to think private certifiers should take the blame. Clearly there needs to be guidelines for liability issues as well as a review of suitable design and materials.

“Council has given its assurance to the government, certifiers, and the building industry that we are willing to work together with all parties to find a solution. However the initiative by the government to establish a mediation process, while of some value, will not address the immediate crisis. Simply put, the BIA as state agency must ensure that private certifiers continue to operate to prevent the looming collapse of the building industry,” said Sir Barry.


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