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Increase productivity. Make builders subject to criminal charges.

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 am, September 23rd, 2015 - 97 comments
Categories: greens, national, same old national - Tags: , , , ,

The Government’s rules reduction taskforce  has come up with the daft idea of letting ‘some’ builders self-certify. Like similar “experts” back in the 1990’s, who similarly thought that removing council oversight of building practices would improve productivity, they are safely away from the downstream carnage and suffering this will cause.

A proposal for builders to give themselves the green light could leave the door open for a repeat of the leaky housing crisis, construction industry experts say.

And homeowners who went through the saga the first time are not backing the idea.

The Government’s rules reduction taskforce yesterday announced a recommendation to encourage builders who met “certain levels of qualification” to self-certify.

It was one of 10 recommendations issued by the taskforce, set up to scrutinise long-winded regulations causing frustration for taxpayers. Other initiatives include cutting consent fees, defining work safety more strongly and using better engagement during policy development. Self-certification would mean builders could deem themselves capable of being licensed at a certain level.

Home Owners and Buyers Association president John Gray said it might mean another leaky building crisis.

“Clearly there are good builders out there but we’re left to deal with the human grief and the financial impact of failed buildings … This will just repeat the same problems that we had in the 1990s where there wasn’t a lot of care or skill applied to the construction of houses when responding to the demand.”

Leaky homes were still being built so it was important not to “let the leash run slack”, Mr Gray said.

“That’s what’s happening now and it’ll only get worse if we let the builders self-certify.”

As a person who wound up with 59 other owners playing for a complete recladding of a 1998 apartment building caused by a few sub-subcontractors cutting corners in how they installed balcony water proofing and bathroom plumbing in the late 2000s, I completely agree.

The rebuild cost was half of the value of the building, and was done while running through nearly 4 years getting the case to court. Fortunately because the Auckland City Council had inspected the build, their insurers settled before court as they were nearly the “last person standing”. Most of the building companies and their insurance policies had disappeared by the time the damage was detected.

If we hadn’t had the council inspection and had left the building untouched, then it would have been a writeoff by the time it wound its way through court against a plethora of missing builders and building companies. As it was, the saga nearly bankrupted me and dozens of others.

The best clear MP comment that I saw was by Green MP Julie Anne Genter

The idea of builders self-certifying was “very troubling”.

“It’s a false economy – we may reduce some compliance costs in the short term, but there is a huge financial risk and it’s unclear where the liability would lie.

“The report lacks any evidence of costs and benefits of reducing oversight in the building sector.”

Which was exactly what happened in the 1990s and early 2000s after deregulation. Sure, housing was built faster. However it threw an immense risk on to home owners because they did not have the expertise to inspect their new properties or the properties that they purchased down the line. In courts, all productivity gains were massively dissipated by the search for liability.

The false equivalence used by such notable irresponsible nutters as Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith with his usual lying lines…

But the system was already used for electrical work, and Smith said there was some instances where builders should be able to sign off their own work in the same way as electricians do.

Of course, electricians have a pretty strong incentive. Leaving faulty wiring in a house that results in death, injury, or fire also draws the attention of the police. Electricians who cause manslaughter like that carry the high risk of drawing the attention of the police and criminal prosecution. As well as any civil liabilities.

In the slow catastrophes that builders usually cause with things like leaky walls, mould, and dangerous bathrooms, that criminal incentive seldom happens.

However, if Nick Smith is willing to provide similar criminal law incentives, say in the line of criminal theft for millions of dollars for negligent builders and the required extraditions or causing deliberate injury to children and adults,  then maybe I’ll look at his ideas more kindly. However as I suspect he isn’t proposing that or anything like it. It is just Nick Smith being a complete spinning dickhead again.

Most rules have a reason, and this one definitely does. Lets leave the liability where it belongs. With the certifying authority meant to inspect buildings and the work of builder, and who is liable to be still there in 15 or 20 years. Councils or central government are the best organisations to take on that role. The liability makes them less likely to cut corners and produce crap legislation.

But perhaps we should we should increase the liability of the politicians who vote for idiotic legislation….

97 comments on “Increase productivity. Make builders subject to criminal charges.”

  1. Sacha 1

    You can tell this is ideological policy by the way they just ignore all the evidence against it, rather than arguing against it. I’d be surprised in the govt can get enough votes from their allied parties for this nuttiness, just like their proposals to gut the RMA.

    And yes, wouldn’t it be great if egotistical dunces like Nick Smith or Max Bradford ended up behind bars for pushing predictably harmful policy on us all.

  2. r0b 2

    I spent much of last year working closely with a builder on remaking our place. Although no fan of council inspections, he thought that removing them to make builders responsible was worse. He predicted that builders would need to take out massive liability insurance, with costs passed on to clients that exceeded the costs of council inspections.

    Short version – this could push the cost of building (with a responsible builder) up instead of down.

    • Rosie 2.1

      “He predicted that builders would need to take out massive liability insurance, with costs passed on to clients that exceeded the costs of council inspections.”

      A very good point to consider, that could be a consequence of Nick Smith’s suggested back to the future policy.

      Great post Lynn. Sorry for your apartment nightmare.

      • KJT 2.1.1

        Builders already have to take out liability insurance.

        Of course it is costly, for Cowboys!

        Leaky buildings was never sheeted home to the true criminals responsible. The cladding and other product manufacturers, who, if you followed their instructions, you would be bound to produce a leaky home. And the politicians, whose criminal irresponsibility, allowed developers and privatised building inspectors, free rein.
        Leaving tax and rate payers to foot the bill.

        Home owners who just want the “cheapest” job because they know that by the time any faults become apparent they will be long gone, are a real problem also. (The average time a New Zealander stays in one house is about 5 years).

        Christchurch is another leaky home issue in the making. Poorly trained cheap labour, inadequately supervised by foremen whose jobs were not paid enough to attract good tradespeople.

        No amount of inspections can substitute for a good tradie.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Builders already have to take out liability insurance.

          And they don’t get paid enough to cover that insurance either. The government keeps putting expenses and responsibility on the builders but nobody will pay them for it. And the developers, who have just had the expenses and responsibility removed from them, rake in higher profits.

          Home owners who just want the “cheapest” job because they know that by the time any faults become apparent they will be long gone, are a real problem also.

          Sheeting home the responsibility for the build to person who caused it to be built would probably help. And what I mean by that is that the insurance company/building owner can sue that person no matter if they’ve closed up the business or not.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1

            That sounds like a market driven solution. Who are you and what have you done with DtB?

          • Pat 2.1.1.1.2

            “Sheeting home the responsibility for the build to person who caused it to be built would probably help. ”

            fraid not Draco…as already evidenced it is too easy to avoid liability by winding up your limited liability company and reopening under a (sometimes) different identity….leave the liability with an organisation that cant fold up its tent….the consenting authority

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.2.1

              The idea would be to make it so that if the business folds the responsibility would still land on the person/owners of that business.

              • Pat

                that would require a fundamental rewriting of the law which would be vehemently opposed and will never happen….irrespective of which party is in power.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  There are many laws, IMO, that need a fundamental rewrite. I suggest starting with the tax laws and commercial responsibility laws.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        Great post Lynn. Sorry for your apartment nightmare.

        It all got settled in mid-2009 after about 4 years from finding spongy balconies. By that time – most of the way through the rebuild, and 3 weeks before going to the high court.

        Painful doesn’t quite describe how much of a nightmare it was. Not only do you have to pay for cost of the rebuild, you also have to pay for the costs of relocating when your apartment has no walls, not to mention the months of them grinding the old walls off before they get to your apartment.

        • Rosie 2.1.2.1

          Yeah, I can’t even begin to imagine the impact of that level of stress would have. 4 years of crap to deal with. Not for the faint hearted.

          And Nick Smith wants to reignite that nightmare………………

    • Naki man 2.2

      ” He predicted that builders would need to take out massive liability insurance, with costs passed on to clients that exceeded the costs of council inspections”

      I was in the building industry about 15 years ago and we were self certifying quite a lot of our work, we had public liability insurance and it was not a big cost.

      • r0b 2.2.1

        I think times have changed in 15 years.

        • Pat 2.2.1.1

          if they have its only for the worse

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1.1

            Please contact the Ignorance Project.

            • Pat 2.2.1.1.1.1

              youre suggesting what….preconceived,outdated ideas? or that i like bananas?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Seriously: The Ignorance Project: it’s a thing. One of their findings is that negative assumptions are mostly wrong.

                • Pat

                  yours or mine?(I googled said org)……with 35 years involved in the building/construction industry one way or another I can assure you my “negative assumptions(?)” are anything but “mostly wrong”…but judging by most the BS being spouted on here it would appear the understanding of how the construction industry operates inNZ is sadly lacking

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I find it hard to believe that the construction industry has gotten worse since National’s leaky building policy was rolled out then rolled back again.

                    • Pat

                      the downward spiral that created the “leaky building ” debacle has continued unabated…one only has to look at the disaster unfolding in ChCh to understand that

        • Naki man 2.2.1.2

          “How much is a Public Liability NZ?

          Think about $1,000,000 of Public liability insurance NZ can cost you only $500 annually”

          A quick check in google, Public liability insurance is still cheap as chips.

      • dv 2.2.2

        Public liability is differ to quality insurance.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Now look here. If National Party legislation actually improved things no-one would buy tables at Cabinet Club. Who’s going to bribe them to do the right thing?

  4. vto 4

    self-certification and de-regulation…

    responsible for the global financial crisis

    responsible for killing 29 men at Pike River

    responsible for leaky homes

    . . . . .

    get this – they also want heavy truck drivers to self-certify as well… how is that? They have rocks in their head. Brainless.

    Plus Nick Smith is an outright liar

    Bull
    Shit

  5. Tracey 5

    EVERYTHING is being put on the shoulders of builders. Developers and their methods of imposing budgets are also part of the problem. Some developers whom builders tell there is a problem reply

    “what will it cost and how long will it take?”
    “is it in the rules?”
    “If the answer is, lots more, and some time and yes, maybe, arguably” Then the problem is left in.

    Not ALL developers are bad, BUT they have totally escaped the regulations and scrutiny of Governments since the leaky building crisis. It’s ALL on the builders, who are paid less than architects, less that a QS, less than a developer and can no longer just shut down their company and walk away.

    This focus solely on builders is what concerns me. Yes they need to be well trained and experienced. BUT developers need to be attached to a building for the long haul too. especially as ultimately THEY call the shots on the big stuff, not the builder

    • vto 5.1

      Just ban the limited liability company Tracey.

      For everyone in every sector, even politicians and their laws, that would be the most worthy.

      All problems solved.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Yep. Got a few people in the family in the construction industry and that’s exactly what we’re seeing. All the responsibility put upon the builders but no increase in pay to cover those added costs while the developers are the ones calling the shots, making the money and taking absolutely no responsibility. The law seems to have been designed that way but I suppose the average builder can’t afford a Cabinet Club table and get one on one time with National minsters.

      • Detrie 5.2.1

        Great article. So, greedy developers take the most cash out of the project with zero long term responsibility. Guess the old reputable ‘building trade’ I knew with skilled staff and eager apprentices is long gone, everything now lowest tender with minimal oversight.

  6. Molly 6

    ” Lets leave the liability where it belongs. With the certifying authority meant to inspect buildings and the work of builder, and who is liable to be still there in 15 or 20 years. Councils or central government are the best organisations to take on that role. The liability makes them less likely to cut corners and produce crap legislation.”

    This.

    The purpose of council inspectors should be to ensure a moderated baseline of quality building work. They should be well trained, experienced and able to provide effective scrutiny of building work occurring in their regions.

    Builders can then get on with their trades, and after a while have reasonable expectations of the work and standards that they will be judged on.

    The issue of developers – shutting up shop and moving on – is connected but is not linked to building quality, just economic responsibility. A separate – but equally important mess to sort out.

    While we have contractors and sub-contractors building – the council inspector acts a defacto QA – as he is the outside observer – with no vested interest – who is in the best position to see any project from start to finish. (Well, if the inspection team was suitably trained and deployed – this would be the case).

    The addition of LBP (Licensed Building Practitioners) always struck me as a Band-Aid solution, slapping on another layer to the building supply chain – which allows further dilution of final responsibilities.

    • keyman 6.1

      i remember i was working with one of the builders who worked on the original Sacramento development in botany just before it finished the site foreman got all subs and works together and told them to liquidate there companies immediately the plans plans and specifications were a joke, licensed building is a joke as well numbers are available for hire while the real owner of the number has already left the country or is about to do the bolt.
      i sort suspect with whole mess the construction industry is in, a lot of the residential construction will move from the site to the factory once that happens quality control is built in to the production line .i think the catalyst for the move will be labors kiwi build program factory built homes have been built in Europe for decades automated factory can run 24/7 if the total number of people involved on any project today is 56 that can drop to around 10 with all the inspections done in the factory by automation i think this is where builder signing themselves off is going

  7. infused 7

    It’s a fucking council issue. I went to buy a new house, got the inspection papers… full of shit like: requires flashings, requires backing stops, no air gap behind gib.

    And the council signs it off…

    What I suspect is going on is there’s a bit of money floating around between whoever is signing this shit off and building companies/owners.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      National Party MPs launder money through Cabinet Club and “business”. Why should right wing councillors behave any differently?

      • infused 7.1.1

        Do you ever actually read the shit you write OAB? Or are you crying because national can fundraise better than your party?

        No-one wants to pay for meetings with labour or any other party. It’s pretty clear with the recent meet the pm and meet andrew little. One costed $75 and sold out. The other cost $30 and didn’t.

        And what makes you think it’s a right wing councilor?

        You’re not even worth the effort.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1

          That’s because the Prime Minister has legislation for sale. Doing corrupt deals with “business” is right wing behaviour by definition.

          PS: hey ignorant lying asshole, I don’t have a party.

      • Rosie 7.1.2

        OAB. It’s not just right wing councillors who are behaving suspiciously when it comes to signing off consents.

        I’ve spent months trying to get our deputy Mayor (Labour) in Wellington to take a look at the cowboy behaviour on The Development where I live. Granted, more of it is to do with anti social behaviour, some of which has been handed to the Police, but there are some aspects that are solely council related. He says there is nothing he can do, his hands are tied.

        Can I talk to our Green Mayor? Can I get past her gatekeepers? No.

        Can I get the compliance manager I’ve been dealing with to accept that their are serious problems on The Development? No. Apparently the RMA is adequate to protect residents from shonky developers and to protect the environment I’ve been told.

        And what about when I raised the issue with the Mayors office that WCC’s manager for urban development, in that role since 2000, is the former husband of the developer and has a conflict of interest in having any oversight into activity on The Development, after she referred my concerns to him? Well, apparently his “role at the WCC is separate from his personal life” – kind of like John Key wearing different hats on different occasions. He is insulated from responsibility because of the protective nature of the hat he is wearing for what ever occasion he needs to be wearing it.

        3D highlighted the scam that is price fixing for building materials in NZ. Is it to much of a stretch to expect that councils around the country are purer than snow?

        Honestly, I’ve voted for our mayor and dep mayor with full faith in their integrity, but man, has that belief been blown out the window this year or what?

        Can’t trust anyone.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1

          In fairness, employment decisions are the preserve of the CEO, not elected members. I agree this country is very bad at dealing with conflicts of interest.

          • Rosie 7.1.2.1.1

            Good point re employment. All I can say is this person with the conflict of interest has been through a few CEO changes in that time. Was married to the developer at the time that consent was granted for a massive swathe of building to go ahead, and ran a business from an address on the development, listed on the companies register with his developer wife, until the business was struck off in 2008.

            And still has a hand in it…………

            At one point I wondered if the developer had any dealings with cabinet club (they are absolutely loaded and could buy influence) but then thought Duh! Of course they don’t need cabinet club when they have ex hubby in a role relevant to development activity.

            And now, cynically they have been granted consent for an “affordable housing area” under the SHA Accord, as if 3 lots of high density areas in the planning and building stage isn’t enough.

            Incidentally, they are sticking the working poor in a south facing hollow at the back of beyond, far away from the $800K homes and far away from the bus route.

    • vto 7.2

      Quite frankly nobody should trust the Council signoff or the builder. Unfortunately this is where it is at today.

      Leaves only option of doing full assessment prior to purchase with no reference to either of the above.

      Having gone through the Chch earthquakes, its rebuild and working in this broad arena, this is exactly where we sit. We do not trust Council. We do not trust the builder. We check it ourselves – get a private inspection / engineering assessment done.

      This is the history of the government, Councils and builders and where it has taken us ….

    • millsy 7.3

      ” I went to buy a new house, got the inspection papers… full of shit like: requires flashings, requires backing stops, no air gap behind gib.”

      I hope you didn’t buy the thing…

      • lprent 7.3.1

        It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen to me as well. Anything goes silently wrong then, by the sounds of it, the first time you will know about it is when the damage is too extensive to fix easily.

    • Detrie 7.4

      The old Manukau City was the worst at this, but hard to know the extent of it today. I like to think it’s more just incompetence than any illegal acts. But we’re an optimist…

      • keyman 7.4.1

        the total value of leaky homes in Auckland council area is the sum total asset value of Auckland council, insurance companies wont insure builders/workers for leaky homes the council has been collecting the numbers of individual workers on sites that barely make a wage the running joke in place where i work is only the bankrupts have the right qualifications to apply for l b p.

  8. DH 8

    I think you’d need to qualify what a ‘builder’ is. A friend of mine was pretty much bankrupted by the leaky building fiasco. He was a contract builder who built to plan. I know he’s a good tradesman and his work would have been up to scratch, he’s one of those types who takes pride in his work and would never do a botch job.

    He got hit because the blame for these clusterfucks gets passed down the ladder until it reaches the poor saps who can’t afford lawyers. His choice was to go broke paying endless legal fees or strike a deal that left him with at least a shirt on his back. I suspect a lot of subbies suffered the same fate, it wasn’t their fault but they had no good options.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      No-one ever wants to take personal responsibility for the things the National Party does. The safest course is not to vote for them at all and failing that, have strong ethics and be prepared to be attacked for them.

      • vto 8.1.1

        well put

      • RedLogix 8.1.2

        I’ve often wondered why we couldn’t have sent a $30b invoice for the original leaky building fiasco to the National Party.

        After all – they are so good at fund raising.

      • The lost sheep 8.1.3

        No-one ever wants to take personal responsibility for the things the National Party does.

        FFS OAB.
        You know very well that ‘personal responsibility’ is just a meme invented by the Right Wing in order to victimise the poor. In the real world, no one is ever responsible for the consequences of their actions.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.3.1

          That’s an interesting statement. Prison inmates might not agree with you; Max Bradford might though. Do you believe it absolves your voting for a party that victimises poor people?

          • McFlock 8.1.3.1.1

            I assume that “interesting” is shorthand for “fucking moronic right-wing mouth-frothing”?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.3.1.1.1

              It’s important not to judge these things, lest the cro-magnon absurdity detector blows a fuse.

    • BM 8.2

      The specs your friend was building to at the time may not have been up to it.

      For example, it was acceptable to use zinc angle for corner reinforcement in exterior cladding systems.

      Few years down the track, they realized the zinc reinforcement wasn’t up to the job and were rusting, letting water in.

      Who’s fault is that, certainly not the builder, he was following what was specified.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.1

        So it’s not like how poor people made bad decisions then?

        Just trying to get a steer on this ‘personal responsibility’ thing.

      • northshoredoc 8.2.2

        There may be a kernel of truth in that. The number of houses in Auckland that are built for the greek islands rather than our irriguous climate is absurd.

        • McFlock 8.2.2.1

          University of Otago commerce building for the win.

          Amongst other highlights: a three foot gap between the atrium glass roof and the neighbouring walls. Floor tiles that are/were highly slippery when wet. An atrium staircase that’s slightly steeper than usual with narrower steps.

          Lower level computer labs and lecture theatres have steel shutters rather than windows, some that slam shut automatically halfway through lectures. Cold and windy, or unventilated and no natural light.

          And that’s just the climate-inappropriate stuff they included for a building in Dunedin. Doesn’t even include a maintenance door (keylocked) that opens onto a six-foot drop, and the lifts occasionally dropped… slightly farther.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.2.1.1

            Clearly designed by a Parkour visionary. Where we’re going, you don’t need stairs.

          • northshoredoc 8.2.2.1.2

            The depressing thing is I’m no longer surprised by stories like this.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.2.1.2.1

              Yeah, well stop being depressed and get galvanised, before you turn into Dr. Niemoller.

      • DH 8.2.3

        “The specs your friend was building to at the time may not have been up to it.’

        Yup. And bad design & poor regulation.

        Buildings have always leaked, it just didn’t use to matter so much or cause much harm until they changed the game.

      • maui 8.2.4

        The client is putting faith in the builder that they know what they’re doing. If the builder is installing systems that he doesn’t know himself are reliable, then that is negligence on their part, not solely the product.

        • BM 8.2.4.1

          Ridiculous comment.

          A builder follows a plan given to him/her by an architect or draughtsperson.

          A builders job is to build, not design.

          • maui 8.2.4.1.1

            A good builder isn’t going to put their name to work they’re not sure is going to work. They would either contact the designer and say that’s not going to work or ignore it and do it the way they normally do that they have 100% faith in.

            What you’re describing are cowboy and newbie builders who don’t know what they’re doing. They’ll do their best to put all the responsibility onto someone else. Duty of care doesn’t seem to exist in your world, that’s not surprising.

          • McFlock 8.2.4.1.2

            In an ideal world the two phases are distinct.

            This is frequently not an ideal world.

            • BM 8.2.4.1.2.1

              I think it’s a bit unfair to expect the builder to have the same knowledge of building systems and materials as a architect or draughtsperson.
              You just have to trust that who ever is designing the building knows what they’re doing.

              If the specs state use this, you use it otherwise if shit goes wrong it’s back on you.

              • McFlock

                If the specs state use this, you use it otherwise if shit goes wrong it’s back on you.

                And yet if the specs are bloody stupid, where is the incentive for the builder to:

                a) point this out; and
                b) risk walking away/being fired from the job if the problem is not rectified?

                Apparently the CTV building collapsed, in part, because non-standard joints were used. There would have been some experienced construction workers on site who thought the joints looked funny. Hell, I’ve worked a job where the bouncers said “that crowd barrier is not going to hold” before the gig (spoiler: it failed – but we had a contingency plan for the failure, and the penalty for failure was not catastrophic).

                It’s not about saying “thinking isn’t my job”, it’s about saying “thinking is my responsibility, even if any changes I suggest need to be signed off by the qualified party”.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.2.4.1.3

            A builder follows a plan given to him/her by an architect or draughtsperson.

            😆

            That would be the idea but many plans thesedays just come with drawings on it and no measurements. The builders are then told to ‘make it look like the design’.

          • keyman 8.2.4.1.4

            for once BM is correct and don’t follow the plan you don’t get payed or lose your job
            when we say builder we mean (principle contractor )
            what the L B P done was move responsibility away from the big boys James hardies , fetchers down to individual works is some case haven’t got two cent to rub together and there is no way the rates cover the risks there taking on by just working on one of these sites there is no risk to reward ratio in the building industry workers/small contractors are taking all the risks and developers get all the reward a lot subbies have homes mortgaged so they can buy materials the financial risks there taking are huge.developers construction companies use subbies as there overdraft

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    The excuse for this sheer stupidity is to decrease the cost of building a house but I figure that the only way for it to work would be if the builder put an insurance policy on the building itself that would then be held by the owners of the building. Then when the building inevitably collapsed due to poor workmanship the owner would be covered. I suspect that such an insurance policy would add several thousand more to the price of the house than the regulations and also figure that no insurance company would touch it because of that inevitability that I mentioned earlier.

    Of course, this government has been making builders more and more liable every year for poor workmanship. Note, that’s the builders and not the developers who are usually the ones that are the cause of the poor workmanship. The developers still get away scott free and with all of the profit.

    • northshoredoc 9.1

      “The developers still get away scott free and with all of the profit.”

      Not just the developers, the building supply companies do very well in NZ.

    • greywarshark 9.2

      The government gestures censoriously with one hand, and with the other makes it easy for builders to have shell companies that they can shut down and negate any responsibility for. Smoke and mirrors.

      And where was the building and housing department that should have been looking at methods and plans being used and spoken up when they were unsatisfactory? An intelligent, informed and experienced backstop that one could get free information from? And now if information is required about something like setting insurance level on a house valuation you are directed to a commercial private entity.

      Housing contains much of our national asset value, it would not be giving unreasonable freebie information to ensure that people and builders themselves were properly informed about methods. I don’t know if the AA still have an experienced advisor that members can refer to and get feedback about the reliability of second hand cars being considered for purchase. I found it invaluable, and was grateful for the help.

      This phantasmagorical department would have known about the problems they had in Canada and elsewhere to avoid this waste of investment. Part of the low productivity arising from the negative effect of leaky housing comes from first the demolition of old standing housing to make way for a fungus fashion house with flaws, and then that ending up being wholly or partly demolished.

      And as for Bennett, one of the National Cows, smirking about low regulation being okay.’ To help improve the rate of house building’. Apparently the Auckland Council has a regulation for everything to do with housing and safety, but many subdivisions are being built by Asian labour and you don’t notice the provision of measures showing compliance with safety requirements on their sites. So good responsible builders get hit with nit-picking laws but others seem to be free of cares that way.

      Note visubversa comment. Further to mine – the builder I talked to said ‘in the old days’ before you became certified you had to show experience, proper training and more no doubt before you paid your fee and got the certified builder ticket. Now the Master Builders just seem to pay and have very little threshhold. And the latest certification who knows how one can worm your way through there.
      edited

      • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1

        Apparently the Auckland Council has a regulation for everything to do with housing and safety, but many subdivisions are being built by Asian labour and you don’t notice the provision of measures showing compliance with safety requirements on their sites. So good responsible builders get hit with nit-picking laws but others seem to be free of cares that way.

        One of the family was employed by a building contractor that bid on doing up a house. Doing up in this case meant raising the house and building a new floor under it. The contractor didn’t get the job because he was going to cost too much and take too long.

        A week or so after start of the work the family member drove by to find the place up on ‘stilts’ in a way that was not to code. Place got shutdown by OSH about two days later.

      • KJT 9.2.2

        “Master Builders” is a club you join by paying a fee.

        It has nothing to do with the old definition of a Master builder. (A Master of their trade). I.E. Finished an apprenticeship and has had many years in the trade afterwards.

        Nor with the trade qualifications for a builder.

        To me. The whole “Master builder” advertising is falsely using the name, “Master Builders” when many of the “Master builders” are not even tradesmen.

  10. Visubversa 10

    The “Licensed Building Practitioner” seems to be nonsense. I recently returned a Land use consent application for two dwellings which relied for their vehicle manoeuvring on land over which the occupants of the subject site had no right of access. The designer was a Licensed Building Practitioner who seemed to be completely unable to read a Certificate of Title. I have no idea how he got the “qualification”.

    Also, lots of work in Auckland is being done by teams of Chinese builders using materials imported by the container load from China. Good luck with finding someone to claim from in 5 years time!

    • keyman 10.1

      i know guy getting back harders from Asian builders to us his L b P and he is using an LBP from another builder who immigrated to Australia years ago, another builder who built shit loads leaky homes in the 90s is know a re clad specialist

  11. millsy 11

    As someone who works for an electrical company, it might be worth pointing out that some electric work still needs to be signed off by an inspector, and is not allowed to be a work colleague who is an inspector, they have to be totally independent.

    Anyway, can someone enlighten what the situation was before deregulation of building in 1991?

    • weka 11.1

      I was wondering about that too. Can we assume that the system used to work back in the day or is something else going on?

      • KJT 11.1.1

        It used to work fine.

        That’s why National had to break it.

        It prevented their developer mates from doing cheap dodgy work.

        And opened up yet another industry, building inspection, to private companies. Who all ran for the hills when the shit hit the fan.

  12. Henry Filth 12

    Am I mistaken, or have vw just been caught self – certifying their pollution figures?

    I bet there’s a few people would like to see self – certified NCEA, too.

  13. weston 13

    build your own then u have only yourself to blame if theres anything wrong with it and additionally the world would be better off as self designed houses are much more interesting to look at and you might have had a rewarding experience in terms of personal growth and confidence instead of just being a slave to the mortgage and the boss and possibly picking a butt ugly boring building out of a catalouge and thereby poluting everyone elses views

    • weka 13.1

      current rules work against self build too.

      • weston 13.1.1

        so cheat a bit if u cant build something out of sight hire a competant builder but still do as much as u can yourself surely theres no law that sayes you cant help ?

        • maui 13.1.1.1

          It’s still legal to self-build if the dwelling is under 10sqm I’m pretty sure. Not a huge space, but it’s the reason why tiny homes have taken off and people with zero building experience have been able to create some cool little buildings that don’t waste a lot of resources and can save you a lot of money.

        • s y d 13.1.2.1

          Anyone can self build their own house. There is an owner/builder dispensation.
          No size restriction. Go to MBIE website it is all there.

          http://www.building.govt.nz/builditright-homeowners-owner-exemptions

          There is a LOT of supposition and ignorance in this thread. Doing my head in.

          IMO there are many many issues facing this sector, some of which are:

          a failed performance based code which is now trying to be massaged into acting as a prescriptive model

          a joint and several liability system where everyone left standing is lined up and shaken out by a legal industry feeding off this method

          a boom and bust cycle whereby skilled people end up being forced out as work disappears

          a huge loss of skills and a division of labour into more and more ridiculous and superficial ‘specialisation’ with very little oversight of the “whole”

          an industry dominated by people at the top (esp corporate builders) who see buildings as no different from a can of beans, simply a product from which to extract maximum dollar return.

          an erosion of the rewards, enjoyment and sense of pride and acheivement in putting together extremely complex, unique,useful, and hopefully beautiful buildings.

          sadly in my experience the really good, clever and committed people are slowly being worn out by dealing with this……sigh

          • Pat 13.1.2.1.1

            “Anyone can self build their own house. There is an owner/builder dispensation.
            No size restriction. Go to MBIE website it is all there.”

            exactly…hence my question

            as to your observations re the industry theres nothing there I would disagree with but would add a virtual monopoly and cartel behaviour
            by a certain industry behemoth adds to the problems.

          • weston 13.1.2.1.2

            id like to see sm hundertwasser style appartments to deal with the housing shortage everyones been talking about lately i wonder if those last big blocks of countryside like ardmore etc are gonna be used effectively or simply have a whole lot more little boxes made of tickey tackey built on them .The later will do absolutely nothing to fix the shortage only prolong the inevitable for a very short while

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