Changes in MBIE

By - , Build 163

Anna Butler, General Manager Building System Performance at MBIE, explains the thinking behind changes at the Ministry to ensure New Zealand’s current and future building needs are met.

THE MINISTRY OF BUSINESS, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides policy and technical advice on New Zealand’s building system, rules and standards. We implement building legislation and regulations, striving to improve how we achieve our stated objective of growing New Zealand for all.

We want to make it easier for the building and construction sector to work with us by focusing on the right priorities and the right activities and having the right people and processes.

MBIE focusing on four key areas

The building and construction sector is very complex, and it doesn’t help to look at any one bit in isolation. However, we are focusing on four key areas:

  • Performance standards – ensuring buildings are safe and fit for purpose.
  • Regulatory and commercial processes – making them efficient and effective.
  • Building products – ensuring reliability, safety and reasonable prices of all products.
  • People – ensuring that everyone has the right skills and there are clear accountabilities for those in the industry and protection for consumers.

Adapting and changing

Our culture and capability are key to delivering a higher-performing building system. We are focused on adapting and changing, steered by clear strategic goals and our experience working with and listening to the sector.

We can’t do this alone. The whole sector has a role to play in lifting performance, embracing innovation and moving forward.

MBIE will continue collaborating with our industry partners to provide the best policy advice and guidance and a seamless customer experience for our stakeholders.

Building CodeHub and KiwiBuild

In recent years, our work programme has included updating standards and Building Code supporting documents, issuing guidance in vital areas and developing and implementing the earthquake-prone buildings regime. This work was in response to the Canterbury and Kaikōura earthquakes and weathertightness issues.

We recently launched Building CodeHub, a web-based search tool for the Building Code and its support documents. We wanted to simplify the Code for ease of use by practitioners. This already has 6,000 users, and we expect it to grow.

We are now focusing on ensuring the building regulatory system is coherent and adaptable for the long-term and on helping the sector perform better.

We are working with the new Building and Construction Minister, Hon Jenny Salesa, to understand the goals of the new government and considering how we can support its ambitious programme. KiwiBuild aims to deliver 100,000 new affordable homes in the next 10 years – 50,000 in Auckland. This large-scale increase in building will significantly impact the construction industry. We will have an initial focus on how we can remove any regulatory barriers to KiwiBuild and how we can support the innovation necessary to meet these targets.

Minister Salesa is also the Associate Housing and Urban Development Minister, recognising the important links between these portfolios. Scalability, new technology and improving workforce capacity and capability are vital. The consenting process and the allocation of risk and liability are also a priority.

Fit-for-purpose guidance

We need to approach these pieces of work in an end-to-end way, making sure they are implemented well and cover the four key areas. A major consideration is always the end user, and we aim to shape guidance and training material so it is fit for purpose and makes change straightforward.

Beyond internal changes, we are looking forward to working with the new government and managing any changes as smoothly as possible. We will stay focused at the systems level while also continuing to think about the big picture.

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