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Speaker: The government's Rules Reduction Taskforce went on a witch hunt, and couldn't find any witches

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  • chris, in reply to Mark Graham,

    But there are resources available for consumers – Building Guide, for one. But people have to choose to seek them out…

    Absolutely, there are tons of resources on the internet for every conceivable aspect of a project; how-to guides, videos, almost anything you could want to know is readily available, except from the official source, so roll on 2016.

    As for the checklist on that Branz site, there’s a lot of general tips but it’s not a one stop shop for the layperson. As an independent company Branz have no liability for an information shortfall.

    Ideally the proposed Government Building Code site will address a range of issues: currently the general population have very little recourse to dispute the findings of dodgy inspectors. It is essential that New Zealanders have ready access to the current standards required in order to assess work carried out without a consent. Sufficient information must be available for future occupants to capably inspect an abode or other structure independently of a builder, trades-person or inspection agency – whose report will invariably include the standard exclusions and disclaimers. Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders live in aging homes that need to be maintained, and that for the most part can be under schedule 1 of The Building Act – being accurately informed as to exactly what is required to bring work up to code and keep it there is essential.

    There’s no ethical reason for the Government not to be disclosing all the information as well as actively educating us and our kids as a means of empowerment. The current practice of keeping New Zealanders in the dark remains lucrative for insurance companies, building inspectors, builders, councils, trades-people as well as for local Governments.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Mark Graham,

    But there are resources available for consumers

    Mark...I have the BRANZ House Building Guide 1993.

    Best $24.95 I ever spent.

    Please don't tell me it's now out of date.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to chris,

    There’s no ethical reason for the Government not to be disclosing all the information as well as actively educating us and our kids as a means of empowerment.

    No ETHICAL reason, no. Ideological, yes. They don't want to empower the average consumer, that consumer might want something that is worth the money they pay rather than be sold a pup.
    As for information, do you feel comfortable getting your building information from a source that feels like the next image you will see is of a Royal baby or an article on what to wear when you go shopping?.
    We used to have This before a Nat Govt. decided that private profit was better than affordable, healthy dry homes for the populace. Now it is quite hard to find anything official. You can get this The Building Act 2004
    – a summary
    2 pages of ???
    or this Reprint as at 1 January 2015
    Building Act 2004
    Public Act 2004 No 72
    Date of assent 24 August 2004
    Commencement see section 2
    ie. the actual building act.
    Rosemary...

    BRANZ House Building Guide 1993.

    That one is far better than what we have now but, unfortunately, they broke it.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    do you feel comfortable getting your building information from a source that feels like the next image you will see is of a Royal baby or an article on what to wear when you go shopping?

    Exactly, no. Thanks for your perspectives here Steve they are very much appreciated. I want a bible, something like Wikipedia, but with more comprehensive diagrams/photos, I don’t want to feel like someone is trying to sell me something. I want an interface that is both accessible while covering everything from the mundane to the advanced. If a builder suddenly decides to change a prearranged plan on the basis that a material or technique will “work just as well” I want the trusted source to help me quickly verify they’re not telling me porkies. From that same source I want to know what nogs and flashings are. I’d far prefer a child emerged from life-skills class able to recognise that a retaining wall is unsafe than ‘drugs are bad mmmkay’. I want to be able to verify that dimensions, angles, measurements are up to code before the inspector comes. To me this kind of resource and education seems to be exactly what the internet and schools were designed for and exactly what a democratic Government should work towards when attempting to leave a tangible legacy for the betterment of our society. In doing this I don’t think the Government would so much kill industry as renew confidence. Until then, not knowing the words, we must content ourselves with humming along.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to chris,

    Yes...
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to chris,

    So long as the general public are kept in ignorance without the education and resources freely available to oversee inspectors’ work and knowledgeably supervise builders.

    See, here’s the thing: as much as I am curious about pretty much everything and want to learn about as much different facets of life as possible, I simply do not have the time to both do my primary job and supervise some notional future builder on such notional future home as the economy might be so generous as to allow me to build. I’m very good at what I do, and I’m sure I could learn enough about building to be able to take a passable punt at supervising a builder, but I don’t have the time to become so expert in something totally unrelated to my day-to-day employment that I could spot the things done poorly in the many hours of the day when I would not be able to be present and watching over their shoulder.
    We’re a species of specialists. If that builder needs someone to fit their new gas stove at home, they’re probably not going to become a certified gas-fitter; they’ll call an expert. Likewise if they need someone to run their construction company’s computer network, they’ll call someone like myself rather than learning how to do it themselves. Our lives are filled with complex systems that interact in complex ways, and it is beyond absurd for anyone to think that everyone could become even passably proficient in enough of them to be able to do away with regulators and inspectors for the entirety of society. Even historic human societies had specialists.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    If that builder needs someone to fit their new gas stove at home, they’re probably not going to become a certified gas-fitter; they’ll call an expert. Likewise if they need someone to run their construction company’s computer network, they’ll call someone like myself rather than learning how to do it themselves. Our lives are filled with complex systems that interact in complex ways, and it is beyond absurd for anyone to think that everyone could become even passably proficient in enough of them to be able to do away with regulators and inspectors for the entirety of society. Even historic human societies had specialists.

    Thank you Matthew, you have made me feel really special.
    Not everybody can be me.
    Somebody called me a Polymath the other day, or was it a polymorph?

    We need a system that works, not the one we have now, it was working fine until National interfered with it back in the 90s.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    We need a system that works, not the one we have now, it was working fine until National interfered with it back in the 90s.

    That system involved real apprenticeships and strict regulation. We’ve had neither for three decades.

    And you're welcome :)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    See, here’s the thing: as much as I am curious about pretty much everything and want to learn about as much different facets of life as possible, I simply do not have the time to both do my primary job and supervise some notional future builder on such notional future home as the economy might be so generous as to allow me to build. I’m very good at what I do, and I’m sure I could learn enough about building to be able to take a passable punt at supervising a builder, but I don’t have the time to become so expert in something totally unrelated to my day-to-day employment that I could spot the things done poorly in the many hours of the day when I would not be able to be present and watching over their shoulder.

    That’s Fascinating Matthew, perhaps get back to me when you’re forking out however many tens of thousands of dollars and have no recourse to second guess a builder who has unilaterally decided to deviate from the job agreed on in the quotation given by his boss. Or simpler still get back to me when you’re purchasing a property that someone else has had built and you have no recourse to independently verify the findings of the inspector’s indemnified report. There is legislation to indemnify these inspections so why should the Government not also provide a resource for those invested enough to seek out information from official channels as a second opinion on what is the greatest and most important purchase they will ever make?

    Essentially you believe that the Government need not provide ample information for the general population because you currently don’t need it or you don’t have time, while conflating a computer system with a domicile, because (as far as I can tell) many peoples’ livelihoods are specialised.

    There are numerous resources available online for anyone wishing to ascertain how something is built and should function, we can find the manufacturer’s specs for a car or a washing machine but housing is quite unique in that it must only conform to nationalised standards, so what exactly are they? These are peoples’ homes, the Government can afford it, you are welcome to ignore as much information as you like at you and your family’s own risk but why argue against the dissemination of valuable information? Is there still no corruption in New Zealand?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to chris,

    the greatest and most important purchase they will ever make

    And there's the problem - that should be a business, not a bivouac.
    Our national discourse about what is important has gone seriously astray.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to chris,

    People vary in how much involvement we want in decisions (and the monitoring of them afterwards).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sacha,

    People vary in how much involvement we want in decisions (and the monitoring of them afterwards).

    I wonder if Matthew may have misconstrued my posts to mean I support Paula Bennett’s proposed deregulation of certification processes. There’s no way I’m in favour of that. I just want as much information available to the general public as its possible for the Government to provide, I’m not advocating a compulsory reading program.

    My posts are informed by Joe’s link of the experiences people have had in Canterbury with the dodgy inspector and my own experiences.

    A simplified example of what I’m getting at is that I am legally permitted to build a 10m2 shed (sleepout) or a 1.5 metre retaining wall (providing it’s not carrying any load other than the ground) or remove or change a non load-bearing wall or build access ramps all without a consent and as far as I can see there are no consolidated Government guidelines as to what constitutes a safe structure or how one should go about it. And because no consent is required there’s no obligation to notify tenants or future inhabitants. These are disasters waiting to happen. Someone may argue that only a fool would attempt these kinds of projects without the basic knowledge, and I just thank Hephaestus that there are no fools in New Zealand. It's great if you know who to trust but as things are the vast majority's lives are at the whim of private enterprise.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    NZ 3604, Timber-framed buildings, is the main resource for all the rule and regs for most houses. It is readily available from NZ Standards for those that need it for the paultry sum of WTF!!!!! $279.00 NZD (ex GST) ($320.85 inc)
    That is why cheap builders make fuckups.... they can't be fucked paying that price... User pays? we all use houses, this should be free to all those that need the information.
    When I first started building here it cost a little over $30.00 iirc.

    You can, of course, view it on the web but...

    Subscribe now

    The cost of your subscription will depend on which standards you want to access, and how many people in your organisation need to be able to access the Online Library subscription at the same time (concurrent users). During your subscription period, we are also able to make any necessary changes and ensure you are aware of any pricing changes that result. For a quote, contact our Online Library team by emailing onlinelibrary@standards.co.nz or calling 0800 782 632 during business hours.

    Online Library subscription pricing

    The cost of your subscription will depend on which standards you want to access, and how many people in your organisation need to be able to access the Online Library subscription at the same time (concurrent users). For a quote, contact our Online Library Team by calling 0800 782 632 during business hours or emailing onlinelibrary@standards.co.nz.

    Yes, it does repeat itself, like a drunk in a midnight choir.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to chris,

    I wonder if Matthew may have misconstrued my posts to mean I support Paula Bennett’s proposed deregulation of certification processes.

    You were very ambiguous in your message, and your implication that everyone should be monitoring what their builders are doing was open to the interpretation that if everyone did just that we would be fine in the face of still more deregulation.
    Guess what: if the notional house that I ever get to build gets built, I will still not be inclined to learn enough to be confident in my capability to supervise the builder. And I shouldn’t be expected to.

    ETA: I was not arguing against making the information more available. From what you describe there is a significant information vacuum. But that does not mean I think that caveat emptor should apply to the multitudes who lack some combination of the time, the inclination, the mental capacity or the physical capacity to become as deeply involved in the process of construction as do you. And you definitely come across as implying that anyone who doesn’t get that deeply involved deserves whatever they’ve got coming.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    And you definitely come across as implying that anyone who doesn’t get that deeply involved deserves whatever they’ve got coming.

    I’m not that hard-line. I kind of wish I were that hard-line. On a recent job where two days into a two person job {having up till that point left the builders pretty much to their own devices – because that’s the ideal isn’t it) I discovered that they’d basically ignored all the documented discussion and information I’d provided prior to the quote; they’d not moved the door, they’d used different materials to those specified, they’d decided against raising the floor, they’d ignored the required angles of walls, they’d basically ignored all the physics I’d spent 4 months researching.

    I’m fairly confident that If I were as impregnably militant as you have just portrayed me, the sudden arrival of 5 builders at 7:45am to intimidate me into compromise would have been no thing. An adequate consolidated resource might not have made much of a difference to builders whose understanding of sound insulation extended about as far as some Pink® Batts® Silencer and a couple of sheets of GIB Noiseline®, but it could have been more efficient than me then having to trawl even deeper through acres of youtube videos, five days into a ten day job in order to find a video made by some guy in the UK who was able to instruct them how to do their job in a language they could understand. No one deserves that Matthew.

    My original reply to you was one of agreement that the rest of us have to trust in the work of others with the caveat that I feel this is an imposed and inadequate position to be in.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    And you definitely come across as implying that anyone who doesn’t get that deeply involved deserves whatever they’ve got coming.

    I didn't get that. What I thought he was getting at was that we (jo public) should be able to access information if we want to, which could benefit anyone who wants to query their builder about any aspect of a build if they felt that way.
    I'm lucky in that I get to say "why do it that way?" or "what does that do ?" or just "Why?" when I have to help do yet another job on the build we are on. Lucky because, I feel satisfied that I understand the more complex details of such things as the plenum chamber that exists behind the fire place or the mathmatics behind the design of our staircase. Then the Solar, that in itself is an experience all on it's own. Without the person teaching me as I go, I'd just be another person at the big table in the Garden at the Pub. I rather prefer the knowledge. For anyone to have the choice is a no brainer in my book. That's not to say everyone needs to read up.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to chris,

    but it could have been more efficient than me then having to trawl even deeper through acres of youtube videos, five days into a ten day job in order to find a video made by some guy in the UK who was able to instruct them how to do their job in a language they could understand.

    Or you could have just asked Steve ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Yeah, I did think of that earlier on. By that stage I knew pretty much exactly what would and wouldn’t work. Unfortunately the 5 or 6 pages of info I’d originally provided months in advance clearly hadn’t been looked at and it seemed to boil down to the fact that a 70 minute video was easier for them than 20 minutes reading with diagrams. Though I also suspected that their approach might have simply been a gambit to save money (because who’d know). From then onwards I made a point of checking in daily to do the ironing out; steep learning curve.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    Was considering buying a new house, but not knowing anything about building, I'm scared to look at anything build after 1995... I'm guessing there's a lot of other people out there feeling the same way.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Stephen R,

    Was considering buying a new house,

    Find a member of the Real Estate Agents Authority. Real estate agents these days have to mind their ps and qs else all manner of shit rains down upon their heads.

    Ask for Full Disclosure, a Council Report (All information on the land, building, alterations etc).. real estate agents should have all the required info on a property.

    Often the vendor will have a building inspection done,,,but for about $250 you can get your own done.

    Going through an agent, through a reputable company, should afford you more protection than a private sale. You might pay more,,,,but make the agent earn their commission.

    Having said all of that....I wouldn't like to be buying my first home in these times.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Cowboy movie, anyone?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11528352

    Or a TV sitcom in the early 1980s.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Often the vendor will have a building inspection done,,,but for about $250 you can get your own done.

    Yep, totally agree, but recent articles suggest that there were shortcuts taken that affect the safety/longevity of buildings during that period that weren't detectable without pulling off the outer layer - I'm thinking something about missing fire-collars in an apartment building which cost an extra 20% of the cost of the building to fix (after the 40% to cover the leaky building remediation) - which means even a building inspection won't find all the dodgy things that were going on.

    And going into debt that much to play Russian roulette on house integrity is just not attractive.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

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