Push to get more houses built sees Government cut red tape in construction sector

The Government is set to cut red tape in the building and construction sector in an effort to allow more houses to be built, including prefabricated houses.

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But officials admit it’ll cost you more to build a house under the rules. Source: 1 NEWS

Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa made the announcement this morning, saying a bill will be introduced in Parliament early next year.

Ms Salesa says the changes will enable the mass factory production of "high quality" buildings, slash the likely number of building inspections for factory produced buildings in half and ensure only the location where a prefabricated house is installed requires a building consent - removing the possible need for two separate consents.

"We are making progress in tackling the long-term challenge of housing including making high-quality, large-scale manufacturing of prefab houses a reality," Ms Salesa said.

"Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and expensive – as builders well know."

For manufacturers who prove their systems and processes are compliant, there will be a new streamlined nationwide consenting process for prefab buildings. 

In some countries about 80 per cent of newly built homes are prefabricated offsite, but in New Zealand that number is only about 10 per cent, Ms Salesa said.

"Prefabrication and off-site manufacturing are the future of construction as they help produce high-quality buildings more quickly than traditional building approaches."

Ms Salesa will be introducing a Bill to the House early next year. She expects the process to be in place as soon as possible.

As part of the changes to the Building Act 2004, the Government also announced it will introduce minimum requirements for information about building products so that roles and responsibilities for manufacturers, suppliers and builders are made clearer and so that the right person can be held to account if things go wrong.

"Councils have told us this will help them better assess compliance with the Building Code," Ms Salesa said, adding that delays in consenting cost a building owner about $1000 for each week of delays.

"The Government is also working to improve occupational regulation within the sector and to address issues of risk, insurance and liability."

Further announcements are expected next year. It's hoped they will "ensure the Building Act is fit for the 21st century, and are part of a wider package of reform that aims to accelerate building including reform of the Resource Management Act", Ms Salesa said.

"There is plenty of work still to be done to improve our building and construction sector after a decade of neglect but the changes announced today are a step forward in ensuring we have a high quality and highly efficient building regulatory system."