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The Future for Building & Construction - 28 March 2014

As the building and construction sector enters a period of unprecedented growth, particularly in Canterbury and Auckland, it was timely for The Hon. Maurice Williamson, Minister for Building & Construction, to take time out from his busy schedule to outline a range of Government initiatives currently being implemented to meet the demand.

The building boom is expected to peak in 2016 but last through until 2019, with growth of 10 per cent for four years.

It is imperative that growth is carefully managed to avoid downsides of past boom periods – building costs exceeding inflation rates and the proverbial “cutting of corners”.

The Canterbury rebuild is gaining momentum.  The Government is working with the Christchurch City Council to make sure nothing hinders this.  The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) is helping to streamline and seek productivity gains in the council’s building consent process.  The council will seek to regain its accreditation this year.

Building Act reform programme
•    The Government is improving the regulatory system - passed the No. 3 Bill in 2012, and the No. 4 Bill last year.  The Construction Contracts Amendment Bill is currently before the House.

The new system for managing New Zealand’s earthquake-prone buildings
•    The Government is revamping the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings.
•    A new nationally consistent system of up to five years for assessments and another 15 years to strengthen or demolish, strikes a balance between risk and cost.
•    Buildings dealt with about eight years quicker on average.  Level of NBS not changing.

Risk-based consenting
•    It will see the required level of assessment and inspection aligned to risk and complexity of the building design, as well as the skills and capabilities of the people doing the work.
•    This will save time and money, and is being piloted with a group of home builders in Canterbury.  
•    Another tool being used to cut red tape is Multi-Proof.  Multi-Proof is consented design which is able to be built over and over on the one consent.  Uptake is increasing with hopes to expand it.

National Building Consenting System
•    The Government is looking to progress enabling the building consent function to be done online.  Online consenting would increase efficiency and consistency of building consent decision making, and facilitate a smoother and quicker process.
•    It is part of a wider piece of work called the National Building Consenting System programme, which will aim to deliver nationally consistent and efficient building consent decisions, a nationally monitored and enforced regulated building sector, and improved access to building information.

Building Information Modelling (BIM)
•    BIM provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility.
•    In Britain, BIM use has slashed building costs and improved productivity.  Every fifth prison built in the UK using BIM is essentially free due to savings made on the previous four.
•    The Hon. Maurice Williamson is a strong advocate of BIM and a draft NZ handbook was completed at the end of last year.

The Hon. Maurice Williamson’s presentation this morning was both insightful and refreshing, leaving us in no doubt that his immense passion, innovative thinking and drive will bring significant and much needed improvements to the building and construction sector.

John Dawson, Chairman, The Admirals' Breakfast Club

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