Welcome to the September edition of Codewords
Spring certainly brought some surprises this month, with wild weather making it hazardous to be outdoors. A good reminder to stay as safe and dry as possible if you’re working outside – and to keep a raincoat handy!
MBIE staff were at the Auckland Home Show earlier this month to launch our restricted building work (RBW) campaign. With over 50,000 people attending it was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of choosing a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) for RBW to help ensure the safety, value and insurability of Kiwi homes. We’ve included an article in this edition of Codewords, but I also recommend you check out www.lbp.govt.nz for more information and watch our ‘Build It Right – restricted building work’ video.
Ensuring LBPs carry out or supervise RBW is important so I want to acknowledge those of you who really go the extra mile to make sure you’re following the rules. This isn’t always easy, but the end result is definitely worth it to maintain your integrity, and integrity of the work you are doing.
This Codewords also looks at the broadened scope of construction contracts and includes information on the consultation on earthquake-prone building regulations and methodology. MBIE really values your submissions and feedback, so please take the time to have your say. The consultation information is on our .
I’m also keen for you to keep sending in your feedback regarding the a477.info website. This is your space so if there’s something that’s not working or not right, email [email protected] and let us know.
Finally, some of the team will be at the Canterbury Home Show from 14–16 October. If you're in the area, come and say hello.
Code and technical changes
Broader scope of construction contracts
The definition of ‘construction work’ has been broadened to include design, engineering and quantity surveying.
The expanded definition, effective from 1 September 2016, was brought into effect under the Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015. Under the change, parties to contracts related to design, engineering and quantity surveying will now be able to access the payments and dispute resolution services under provision in the Construction Contracts Act 2002.
The broadened definition allows designers, engineers and quantity surveyors to ensure they are properly paid for their services in a timely manner. It also helps consumers hold architects, engineers and quantity surveyors to account for their work.
The change does not affect contracts entered into or renewed before 1 September 2016.
In other changes that came into force on 1 December 2015, residential and commercial construction contracts are now treated equally under the Act, and adjudication and enforcement processes have been improved.
Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015 has more information about the Act.
[PDF, 420KB] on our MBIE Corporate website.
Fire workshops prompt Acceptable Solution consultation
In August and September 2016 MBIE held several successful stakeholder workshops as part of the review of the Acceptable Solutions for Fire C/AS 2–7, one of the Fire Programme’s cornerstone projects. Workshop attendees reviewed an alternative format, which 89% thought we should pursue work on and put out for consultation.
The proposed format amalgamates six documents into one, simplifies how to find and use information and includes an increased use of tables in place of text.
Work will continue on developing the alternative format and, based on the feedback, this work will include a clear and transparent process for stakeholders to work on the document, and ensure the final product is a high-quality, accurate document.
We expect to publish a plan by the end of October outlining the development of the alternative format for the Acceptable Solutions by the end of October.
New geotechnical education programme launched
An education programme on earthquake geotechnical engineering has been launched, aimed at helping the building industry provide communities with more resilient buildings.
The programme has been jointly developed by MBIE, the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS).
It aims to provide consistent and up-to-date knowledge on earthquake geotechnical engineering practice, drawing on lessons learnt from the Canterbury earthquakes.
The information will be available in a variety of formats, including face-to-face and online resources as well as events. They are developed for professionals with a background in soil mechanics and earthquake engineering and will also be useful for a wider audience including engineers looking to upskill, immigrant engineers looking to move to New Zealand, architects, developers, land planners and building officials.
“The education programme is aimed at growing knowledge and understanding of earthquake geotechnical engineering practice,” says Mike Stannard, MBIE’s Chief Engineer.
“It’s critical we understand the ground conditions on which our buildings and infrastructures are built. We live with seismic hazards and have a complex and variable geology condition.
“The multi-year programme is being informed by ongoing research, both within New Zealand and in collaboration with international researchers.”
Ban coming on import of products containing asbestos
A ban on the import of all products containing asbestos, including building products and materials, will come into force on 1 October 2016 under the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Act 1988. Under the ban, importers will need to understand and follow the rules and confirm their imports do not contain asbestos.
Asbestos can cause cancer and respiratory disease and is a leading cause of work-related disease and mortality.
The ban will bring New Zealand’s regulations into line with many other countries, including Australia and the European Union. The manufacture and importing of raw asbestos is already banned in New Zealand under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, although under the Act products containing asbestos were still able to be imported for a range of uses.
A 2014 inventory by the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) showed alternative products are available in most cases. However, from 1 October 2016, if exceptions to the ban are required, for example if there are no suitable alternative products, importers can apply to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for a permit, but only in limited circumstances.
Many people, including those in the building industry, have already largely phased out the use of products containing asbestos in recognition of the health issues they pose. However, there have been cases in Australia where building products containing asbestos, such as roof cladding and fibre cement sheeting, have been imported and used, despite a ban being in place.
The EPA and the MFE are working together to raise awareness of the new rules and are preparing guidance for importers who will need to check their supply chains to ensure their products do not contain asbestos. New Zealand Customs will be responsible for checking and stopping items containing asbestos at the border and prosecuting for any breaches of the ban.
Product assurance guidance in the New Zealand building market has guidance on importers’ obligations.
LBP knowledge link
LBP Registrar update
Welcome again to the LBP section of Codewords.
Looking to the future
Last month MBIE released two construction sector reports:
In 'Future demand for construction workers', MBIE writes that the value of building work is at the highest level ever and that the growth is predicted to strengthen through to 2017. The publication also showed there are strong predictions of increased labour force pressures on the building sector. This means we have busy times ahead, and there is no better time to apply to join the LBP regime to improve your knowledge and skills.
In the 'National Construction Pipeline Report 2016', co-produced by BRANZ and Pacifecon, there is a similar theme with growth predicted to be strong until 2017 and levelling off after that.
Both reports have predicted a 20% increase in the value of annual construction work, peaking at $37b in 2017.
LBP reading material
The LBP articles included in this edition relate to restricted building work (RBW) and how you can define it, and there is also a technical article to refresh your knowledge on jack and pack foundation repairs.
RBW is a really important consideration for people carrying out building work. As an LBP, knowing what is RBW will be a great marketing tool – not to mention, it is critical that you know what RBW you need to provide a record of work for!
Build It Right – restricted building work video also contains helpful information.
We have seen a lot of successful jack and pack repairs but a couple have slipped below the standards LBPs must meet. This quick article will give you a brief overview and will remind you where to get more information.
Diana Blake is our profiled LBP for this edition. Diana is a qualified architectural designer, a member of ADNZ and holds a design licence. She enjoys the continued learning and knowledge updates the LBP regime brings and is a great example of a passionate designer.
Build magazine distribution
As you will likely know, we’ve teamed up with BRANZ to deliver their fantastic Build magazine to all LBPs! While this is great added value, we would like to take this chance to remind all LBPs to keep your postal addresses current and correct. You can easily update your address by going to and clicking on LBP Login. Don’t miss out on next month’s magazine!
Registrar, Building Practitioner Licensing
Doing it right with jack and pack
In mid-2015, MBIE carried out a survey of earthquake-damaged and repaired homes in Canterbury (CEDAR survey). While the topic of the report was earthquake repairs, the information is useful for anyone undertaking foundation repair. This article looks at what we learned about the jack and pack repair method.
Assessing the situation
The first step is to assess whether to repair the damaged section of foundations or replace it. This will depend on the extent of the damage. For example if you are:
- relevelling a timber framed floor by more than 100 mm then the subfloor may need to be rebuilt rather than repaired
- assessing a pile that is more than 15 mm out of plumb, you should look at replacing it
- going to relevel a concrete slab foundation and it is more than 150 mm out of level, a rebuild is the suggested option.
You should also identify if the work needs a building consent. A significant repair to the structure (including the foundation) of a home will likely need a building consent. A minor repair to a few piles might not need one, but it pays to check with the local Building Consent Authority, or read MBIE’s guidance on Schedule 1 of the Building Act.
Doing the job
The general steps to relevelling include:
- making the area safe and ready for the work
- identifying the relevelling heights
- detaching the connections and services from the subfloor
- applying the relevelling methodology
- reattaching connections and services
- reinstating disturbed ground and tidying up.
For a jack and pack repair on a timber subfloor, if you are lifting the bearers to pack them up, a single H3.2 treated timber packer or folding wedges fixed in place are suggested.
Remember, if you need to pack a pile more than 100 mm you should replace the pile instead. You should also replace the piles that are out of alignment or are leaning too far over.
Once you have packed the piles you need to ensure that the pile, packer and bearer are aligned and fixed together well.
Unsure of what to do?
If you are unsure of the methodology or whether the work should have a building consent, it is a good idea to speak to the local building consent authority. For expert advice you could consult with an engineer, or direct the home owner to get some advice.
1) How far out of plumb would a pile need to be before you should replace it?
- 10 mm
- 15 mm
- 20 mm
- Never replace a pile
2) I want to pack only one pile in my repair, how much can I pack it without needing to replace it?
- 50 mm
- 75 mm
- 100 mm
- 200 mm
3) What does Schedule 1 of the Building Act tell you?
- How much you can pack your pile
- What building work is restricted building work
- What building work does not require a building consent
4) Where can I get more information about repairing and relevelling foundations?
- The local council
- The Building Performance website
- MBIE’s guidance documents
- All of the above
LBP profile – Diana Blake
For as long as Diana Blake can remember she has been interested in buildings and architecture.
“As a child I was always biking around looking at new homes to photograph and sketch floor plans for. Many of my childhood memories are of watching my dad do various renovations to our own home.”
Diana wears a few hats – she’s a qualified architectural designer, a member of the Architectural Designers of NZ Group (ADNZ) and also a licensed building practitioner (LBP).
“I find being an LBP helps me keep up to date with any changes in the industry such as statutory changes or code changes and the ADNZ helps me to participate in continued learning – both are important to running a successful business.
“I would love to encourage more women to be qualified LBPs,” Diana says. “Women bring another perspective and skill to the industry, and architecture gives you the flexibility to work and raise your children. I love working on varied projects, anything from small alterations to large new beach houses or education projects or restaurant refits – and I am very lucky to be able to work with fantastic people.”
Outside of work, Diana tries to spend as much time outside as possible and says, “it’s easy when you live in beautiful Whangamata!”
Know your stuff – restricted building work
If you’re doing or supervising building or design work on a residential property, chances are it’ll include restricted building work (RBW).
The rules about RBW help ensure homes, often a Kiwi’s biggest investment, are structurally sound and weathertight. RBW also covers fire safety design in small to medium apartment buildings. MBIE is running a campaign through to the end of the year to raise awareness about RBW, including that it must be carried out or supervised by licensed building practitioners (LBP). The campaign encourages people to visit www.lbp.govt.nz where they can find out more about RBW and their rights and obligations when building.
To help you understand RBW, we’ll cover off the four main elements:
- RBW only applies to residential buildings. The building can be a house of any size, or a small to medium apartment building of less than 10 metres in height (this includes townhouses). The building must not have any commercial elements to it (no shops on the ground floor, for example).
- If the work does not require a building consent, then it is not RBW. (Sometimes, a building consent covers both work that is RBW, and work that is not. Only the parts that are RBW need to be carried out or supervised by an LBP and require Records of Building Work or Certificates of Design Work.)
- The work must be building work (construction, alteration or design) that affects the primary structure or the external moisture management systems of a building (or if it is design work, the fire safety systems as well).
- The type of building work has to be covered by one of the seven licence classes. These include design, carpentry, bricklaying or blocklaying, external plastering, foundations and roofing.
So, what does this mean for you? Well, it means that if you’re carrying out work that meets all four points, it is RBW.
If it is RBW, an LBP has to carry out or supervise the building work and produce a Record of Work (RoW) at the completion of their part of the RBW. If it is design work, a Certificate of Design Work (CoW) must accompany the consent application.
If you’ve got any doubt about whether a job you’re going to undertake is RBW, call the local council or MBIE’s building advice line on 1111 11 11 11. You can also check out MBIE’s campaign and information.
1) Does building work need to have a building consent in order to be RBW?
2) Work to what types of buildings is RBW?
- A dairy on the corner of your street
- Commercial buildings with less than 10 floors
- Public buildings that have less than 100 visitors a day
- Residential houses of any height or small to medium sized apartment buildings of less than 10 metres in height. These buildings must not have any commercial elements such as shops in them.
3) Is building a detached garage in the back yard RBW?
- Yes, it is a structure and it needs external moisture management systems.
- No. Building a garage that is not attached to the existing house is not building work to the primary structure or external moisture management systems of a residential house or small to medium-sized apartment building (of less than 10 metres in height)
4) If you’re unsure about whether work is RBW who should you call for information?
- The ghostbusters
- Your best mate
- The local council. Alternatively, you can check the LBP website or call MBIE’s Building Advice contact centre line on 0800 242 243
- Your building material supplier’s sales representative
Read our recent determinations
There are no articles on determinations in this edition of Codewords.