Building and construction minister Poto Williams said that the new laws will support housing supply and affordability, improve trust and confidence in the building sector and support the use of new, innovative and efficient building methods.
The changes passed today (3rd June) are the first phase of a suite of reforms to the Building Act that aim to lift the efficiency and quality of building work and provide fairer outcomes if things go wrong.
“The government is committed to delivering affordable housing quickly and efficiently, increasing sector productivity and reducing the cost of building,” said Williams. “These laws deliver on this commitment by taking advantage of modern technology, such as offsite manufacturing. These reforms will support the government’s priority of speeding up the supply of housing without compromising on the quality of the homes New Zealand needs and deserves.”
A new scheme for modular component manufacturers will allow offsite building manufacturers who meet certain requirements to be certified. This will allow them to sign off their own designs and construction, which could significantly speed up the consenting process, said the government.
“We are bringing building consenting processes into the 2020s to make the most of industry innovation and modern technologies,” said Williams. “Offsite manufacturers have an important role to play in delivering the modern, healthy homes we need.”
Other law changes include a new requirement for manufacturers and importers to make information about building products and their uses publicly available. This is intended to help builders and designers choose the right products and install them in the way intended and be held accountable for doing so, which will lead to safer and more durable buildings.
“We are giving homeowners greater confidence that the building products being included in building work are fit for purpose, installed correctly, and will perform as expected,” said Williams. “Being transparent about product information will result in benefits across the building system. It will save time in the building consenting process, as authorities will have the right information readily available, and it will support small businesses competing with international big brands by making it easier for consumers to make informed decisions.”
The reforms also include a range of changes to the CodeMark product certification scheme; changes to the way the Building Levy can be spent; new offences to support compliance with the changes; higher maximum penalties for existing offences; and a longer period to file a charge for investigating breaches of the Act.
The extension of time to file a charge, changes to the Building Levy and increased maximum penalties for individuals and organisations who fail to comply with the requirements of the Building Act will take effect immediately following Royal assent.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is consulting with the sector to develop new regulations on other parts of the Bill to support the modular component manufacturing scheme, CodeMark changes and the new building product information requirements.