Products that stand the test

This Issue This is a part of the Accountability feature

By - , Build 150

Building products used in New Zealand need to comply with the Building Code. Product technical statements are one tool that can help give everyone confidence that the product will perform as required.

Figure 1: Product information is relied on throughout the building process. Sections 14B–14G of the Building Act 2004 describe the responsibilities of each group.

ANYONE WHO MAKES, imports or supplies products intended to be used in building work is responsible for making sure these products will comply with the New Zealand Building Code. These responsibilities are enforced by consumer legislation, such as the Fair Trading Act 1986 and Sale of Goods Act 1908, working in tandem with the Building Act 2004.

Section 14G states manufacturers’ and suppliers’ responsibilities

For the past 2 years, the responsibilities of product manufacturers and suppliers have been stated explicitly in section 14G of the Building Act. This joins similar sections inserted in 2012 (sections 14A to 14F) for owners, builders and owner-builders, designers and building consent authorities (BCAs).

Section 14G says, that if suppliers or manufacturers claim their products will comply with the Building Code, the products must do so if installed according to their technical data, plans, specifications and advice.

Claims that a product can be used in a certain way, for example, as a structural bolt or in a marine location or as a weatherproof cladding, must be backed up with suitable evidence.

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Everyone relies on accurate information

The interplay of sections 14A through to 14G is a reminder that everyone in the building process relies on accurate product information and claims (see Figure 1).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and and Employment (MBIE) has been working with product manufacturers and suppliers to improve the standard of that information and provide more tools to help them demonstrate compliance with the Building Code.

Product assurance resources are being updated (see www.building.govt.nz/product-assurance) with new content due soon. We are also talking to industry groups about further training.

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Product technical statements useful

The continued use and adoption of product technical statements is encouraged for any product or system that has Building Code obligations. These are statements by the product manufacturer or supplier that summarise need-to-know product information in a digestible format.

MBIE developed the product technical statements in conjunction with the building industry several years ago. While an optional tool, they have become increasingly useful since the advent of section 14G of the Building Act.

Creating product technical statements helps manufacturers and suppliers meet their responsibilities to provide reliable technical information and show product compliance.

Product technical statements can also help:

  • designers and specifiers to assess and compare building products, and they can include them in project plans and specifications
  • BCAs to consent building work using products by forming part of the evidence base for their decision on reasonable grounds
  • builders and homeowners to receive clearer information about installation, maintenance and product support.

Aside from their legal responsibilities, it is in the interests of manufacturers and suppliers to provide correct – and complete – information about their building products. Otherwise, these may not be stocked, used or specified, and BCAs may not approve a building consent for their use in building work.

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Determinations used to solve disputes

If there is a dispute about a particular building product, those involved, including the building owner, licensed building practitioner or BCA, may also be able to apply for a determination. This is a binding decision made by MBIE that provides a way of solving disputes or questions about whether something complies with the Building Code.

MBIE can also issue product warnings or bans under the Building Act.

Figure 1: Product information is relied on throughout the building process. Sections 14B–14G of the Building Act 2004 describe the responsibilities of each group.

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Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.

Figure 1: Product information is relied on throughout the building process. Sections 14B–14G of the Building Act 2004 describe the responsibilities of each group.

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