BOINZ forum highlights future of standards for building and construction

BOINZ2018 booth

Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ) held its Senior Building Control Officers’ (SBCO) Forum this month at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre with a group from Standards New Zealand in attendance. The annual forum is designed to bring together SBCOs to share information, discuss current issues, and identify solutions, using a mixture of case studies, expert panels, and presentations on technical content.

The SBCO Forum also provided delegates with valuable networking opportunities, while enjoying stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean courtesy of the conference centre’s strategic placement on Napier’s Marine Parade.

‘It was great to have Standards New Zealand participate in this important annual forum, especially given Standards New Zealand’s history with Napier and the 1931 earthquake,’ says Carmen Mak, Manager Standards New Zealand.

The technical programme opened with a memorable presentation from Michael Fowler, Art Deco Trust Historian, on the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. During the morning of 3 February 1931, New Zealand experienced one of its worst natural disasters, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Hawke’s Bay that claimed 256 lives across Napier, Hastings, and Wairoa, and almost completely destroyed the towns of Napier and Hastings. A legacy of the earthquake was new national building codes, brought into force from 1932.

Delegates from Standards New Zealand participated in the SBCO Forum. A Standards New Zealand exhibitor stand provided opportunities for one-on-one engagement, and Carmen Mak, Manager Standards New Zealand, gave a well-received presentation. Carmen shared information on Standards New Zealand’s institutional arrangements since transitioning into the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment following the 2015 Standards and Accreditation Act. The presentation also focused on Standards New Zealand’s new business strategy and standards under development for building and construction.

The Standards New Zealand business strategy has a number of focus areas that could benefit the building and construction sector. For example, innovative pilots are under way to help to identify ways to develop standards faster and reduce cost barriers to access and enable standards content to be accessed more easily. This includes reducing timeframes and cost for the adoption of international standards and publishing in user-friendly formats. Standards New Zealand has also implemented a strategic engagement focus that will allow for effective development and maintenance of collaborations and partnerships with key players in the building and construction sector. This includes arrangements with third parties to deliver standards content through ‘value-added’ products and services built on digital technologies.

The building and construction sector is a priority sector for Standards New Zealand, and standards play an important role in how people demonstrate Building Code compliance. There are approximately 424 primary referenced standards and 6000 secondary and other standards.

A presentation from Anna Butler, General Manager Building System Performance, MBIE highlighted their focus on addressing the big issues in building and construction. The building regulator now operates under a four-part framework focused on the aspects of the system that the regulator can influence: products, people, processes, and performance. Standards New Zealand and Building System Performance have been working together to remove barriers to access for key sector standards such as NZS 3902:2004 Housing, alterations and small buildings contracts and NZS 4218:2009 Thermal insulation – Housing and small buildings.

BOINZ members were also invited to register their interest to participate on standards development committees. Committee members are able to directly contribute to the development of an authoritative standard that is widely accepted in the building and construction sector. Committee members are also able enhance their professional experience, while representing and protecting the interest of the New Zealand public. Standards New Zealand appoints committee members – working to ensure the committee is balanced and has a good mixture of expert knowledge and experience. The final composition of the committee is approved by the Standards Approval Board

  • You can view the Standards New Zealand work programme, which includes the list of building and construction standards in development, on our website.
  • You can access the building-related standards sponsored by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Building System Performance) here. They are available to view online at no charge.

Published in building.