New Zealand's top construction companies are at breaking point over a rising tide of red tape, an inquiry heard today.

The industry has become frustrated over the amount of bureaucracy involved in developing building standards, the final day of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission hearings heard.

Construction bosses have called for a more pragmatic approach to how the building standards are pushed through.

Pieter Burghout, chairman of pressure group Construction Industry Council, said there needs to be more action and less talking.


"We used to develop standards in a collaborative way ... everyone shoulder to the wheel, let's get the job done,'' Mr Burghout said.

He said the industry wants a clear five-year building standards plan, rather than tinkering with them every year.

Commission chairman Justice Mark Cooper said there was much to be said for that sort of approach.

David Kelly, of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, agreed a clearer plan would be welcomed.

"We've started work on that,'' he said.

"The talk for us collectively is to get to a simpler number of standards.''

The commission has until November 12 to produce its final report.