"This is a low point. No doubt about that," Sir Ralph Norris said after announcing his resignation as chairman of Fletcher Building.

Speaking on Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB, Norris said someone needed to take accountability for the ballooning losses at Fletcher's Building + Interiors division and so he had decided to stand down.

No other board members would be resigning over the issue, though one director may leave this year as part of the normal rotation period.

The problems at B+I went back for a number of years and there was an issue with the quality of information that flowed to the board.


"Being kind there were omissions of information that may have had the board take a different view at different times," Norris said.

"At times I don't think the board was in possession of all of the facts ... there have been a number of management replaced particularly in the B+I operation over the last 18 months and that's not coincidental."

Asked if he blamed ex-chief executive Mark Adamson, who departed suddenly from the role last year, Norris replied: "I'm obviously taking accountability, certainly the former chief executive has got some responsibility as well."

So how does a company like Fletcher Building run into trouble during a building boom?

"Booms are sometimes as bad as busts," Norris said.

"And the reason is you get a situation where you've got a limited amount of resource being in demand and the law of economics sees that those prices increase substantially and that's what's happened here."