Relief is apparent around the corridors of power that the report commissioned from former ITM executive Paul Taylor by BIF and associated industry organisations has revealed no systemic failures within the building system.
The report released in May this year was entitled "Identification of issues for industry attention within Auckland building activities" and was set in motion to identify sources of failure in construction and materials (including electrical and plumbing) following a spike in failed building inspections in Auckland .
The basic view of the Minister of Building & Housing Nick Smith is that, while those policing the system have concerns over a number of issues, the reality is that thousands of houses and commercial buildings are being completed without major problems.
BUILDING INSPECTION FAILURES
That the so-called "Taylor Report" declared there was no single key driver of inspection failures but rather a number of factors which, when combined with a booming market, resulted in a peak of 35% of inspection failures in July of last year.
It was taken to indicate that, unlike the weather tight homes issue of the last decade, the issues to be dealt with were of a scale capable of being handled within the existing regulatory framework.
Areas identified for particular attention included:
The report also pointed up a need that merchants and suppliers should give more attention to providing technical data and installation instructions on-site, especially for proprietary products/systems and bracing.
With the Auckland Council under pressure because of the building boom, emphasis will continue to be given to the need for designers to get their product information right in submitting consent applications, with an inherent call for suppliers to have their materials and products well covered by Product Technical Statements.
Meanwhile, BIF continues discussion with MBIE around a tightening of the product assurance framework.
ADDRESSING ISSUES IN STEEL
Following more recent publicity around steel quality, in Wellington, Metals NZ has responded to Minister Smith's concerns about steel quality.
Significantly, it turns out that New Zealand is not alone in experiencing issues with steel.
In South Korea, news outlets have reported more than a hundred cases of labels of origin being fraudulently changed in the Republic, as identified by the country’s Customs Service. This is double the number in 2013.
During last year, Korean Customs identified a total of 948 incidents involving a variety of imported products of a total value in excess of more than US$390 million.
Cases where the origins of steel imports were changed represented about 12% of the volume and 50% of the total value.
A member of Korea’s governing political party is putting together a Bill to promote more severe penalties for fraudulent labelling of imported products.
Look out for more on these issues in the next issue of NZ Hardware Journal.