Compliance costs slammed

By Carmen Hall

Over-the-top building compliance codes are creating mountains of paperwork and adding thousands of dollars to the cost of building a house, Tauranga building companies say.

CBC Construction director Peter Cooney said his project managers used to be able to handle up to 18 houses a year but because of paperwork, compliance and health and safety regulations they can only complete about 11.

Most of that work stemmed from compliance issues surrounding memorandums that had to be filled out by sub trades and collated by building companies for a code of compliance and initial design plans required more detail from council.

"A few years ago when we did a design plan we used to submit about seven pages of details for a standard brick and tile single level house to council now they are requesting up to 30 pages.

"That takes time and energy and adds cost and we believe a lot of it is unnecessary. "

Mr Cooney, who also owns Tauranga Classic Builders, said scaffolding regulations added on average another $4500 to a standard build.

"It's ridiculous when everyone is jumping up and down about house affordability. The Government is pushing up the price of compliance ... they need to get realistic."

Tauranga Generation Homes director Lyndon Marshall said the rules and increased paperwork had made house affordability more difficult.

"The licensed building practitioner concept was fantastic and the health and safety regulations are imperative but it's unfortunate it came at such an expense. "

There needed to be an online service to deal with all the documentation and consent processes, he said.

Fowler Homes Tauranga/Hamilton owner Tony O'Brien said now all builders were registered building practitioners - yet they still had to fill out a certificate for every job. "It's like nobody trusts their work. We are hearing about affordable housing but underneath the Government is driving it the other way."

Building and Construction minister Maurice Williamson said the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment was looking at a national online consenting system that would "save consent applicants, builders and building consent authorities millions of dollars annually.

"A national online consenting system would provide for, and facilitate, the 'end-to-end' processing of consents using standard forms and consenting processes. "

Tauranga City Council Building Services Manager Rob Wickham said the Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) scheme was a national licensing scheme to help ensure people in the building industry were competent and accountable, so "homes and buildings are designed and built right the first time."

Scaffolding company is one winner

Tauranga company Intaks has prospered as a result of the new compliance regulations for the building sector.

The firm designed a lightweight scaffolding system and has turned it into a million- dollar business in its first year.

Intaks NZ owner Lew Cleveland said his product was made in the city and sold around the country. It has taken the market by storm and had 10 agents based from Southland to Warkworth.

"The response has been fantastic. I have been designing it for 12 years, it was a bit of a stop-start affair and I gave up on it a few times. But I think my timing was pretty spot on as it coincided with an uplift in building and the new safety regulation rules regarding the use of scaffolding on building sites," Mr Cleveland said.

The scaffolding was used for new housing and re-roofing and made by Gammin Co.

Mr Cleveland, who also owns Scaffold Systems, said he had increased staff by 50 per cent in that business to cope with demand.

Asset Scaffolding owner Leo Scott started out as a one-man band but now has a business partner and four staff.

He used to do mobile scaffolding but started Asset in January. Business has been brisk due to the scaffolding rules.

"I did mobile scaffolding on my own delivering to builders," Mr Scott said.

"A lot of it was on big commercial sites and their safety regulations meant they weren't allowed to use ladders they had to use the mobiles but when this edge protection came in I had formed a lot of relationships with clients.

"If I was prepared to get into it they were prepared to back us."

Some builders were initially against the scaffolding change but had warmed to the idea, he said. Carmen Hall

Fact box

  • Since March ,1 2012 any restricted building work or building that relates to the structure of a building or its weather-tightness must be done by a registered LBP.

  • Under the scheme designers must complete a memorandum in order to gain a building consent and tradespeople must provide a record of work outlining what work they have done.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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