New Beginnings

Welcome to Codewords!

This is the new monthly bulletin of the Department of Building and Housing’s Building Controls, formerly the Building Industry Authority (BIA). Codewords replaces BIA News and will continue to bring you the latest topical and technical information on developments in building controls.

Creating the Department of Building and Housing

Over the past 15 years the building and housing sector has undergone significant changes. The demand for good quality housing is increasing and investment in housing continues to grow.

There is also an increased demand for good quality inner-city housing with growing numbers of apartments being built. Elsewhere, New Zealanders want larger houses, and modern houses are being built out of new and innovative materials. The building and construction industry continues to thrive.

Recognising these changes, the government reviewed how best to deliver regulation and services in this sector. The key problem it found was fragmentation. Regulatory and dispute resolution services were being delivered across six agencies and there were real challenges in linking these services with policy work.

To be effective, the government needed to bring together groups working on similar issues and within the same sector. It needed to create a 'critical mass' of policy capability and expertise on housing and building regulation, and to develop and strengthen central government capability in this important area.

Out of this work grew the vision for the Department of Building and Housing. It brings together existing resources, capability and expertise and creates the critical mass needed to better deliver services and policy advice.

The Department has a key role to play in ensuring a well-functioning building and housing sector. It will do this through the delivery of a range of building - and housing related services, including:

  • providing advice, education and dispute resolution services for
    tenants and landlords, and builders and homeowners
  • regulating, monitoring and working with industry to ensure buildings are built well.

Underpinning this service delivery is a range of legislation that recognises the economic and social importance of housing and building.

Building Controls

In March 2003 the government decided that the Building Industry Authority should be dissolved and its role as the building industry’s regulator transferred into a government department. This happened on 30 November when the BIA’s functions were absorbed into the expanded Ministry of Housing, renamed the Department of Building and Housing. On this date, BIA staff joined the Department, ensuring that building control functions will continue to be carried out by the same faces, drawing on a wealth of experience and expertise.

The BIA was responsible for regulating good building practice and guiding improvements in the industry. As Building Controls within the Department, it has an ongoing and critical role in ensuring New Zealanders enjoy good quality homes and buildings.