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Statement on under-strength timber allegations

Hon Maurice Williamson
Building and Construction Minister

04 December 2008

Media Statement

Statement on under-strength timber allegations

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson has called for an investigation into allegations surrounding the use of under-strength timber in some buildings.

"The Department of Building and Housing is working to confirm the accuracy of allegations that under-strength timber has been used in some new buildings in the Auckland region over the past 18 months.

"Departmental officials are now working with industry representatives and local government officials to determine the nature and extent of the alleged problem. At this stage we have not established the precise number of buildings affected, however only a small number of frame and truss manufacturers are thought to be involved."

Councils in districts where there is known to be a potential problem have already begun to manage the issue. The ultimate legal power and responsibility for action rests with councils.

Mr Williamson says Department officials were notified of a statement issued by the Frame and Truss Manufacturers' Association alerting members and councils in the Auckland region of the alleged practice.

"Any issue involving the misuse of a building material is obviously a cause for some concern. However, there is no evidence so far to suggest there is risk to public safety. Nevertheless active steps are being taken to identify where problems may exist.

"I want to congratulate the Frame and Truss Manufacturers' Association for notifying its members of the potential issue and for bringing it to the attention of the authorities.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on these allegations at this stage."

Mr Williamson says the Department of Building and Construction is setting up an 0800 number for those who want to get more information about the issue.

The number is 0800 242 243 and it is expected to be available from tomorrow.


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