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BC Update 181: Complaints about non-compliant building products

Posted: 15 April 2016

BC Update
In response to recent media coverage involving allegations that some building products are unfit for purpose or non-compliant with the Building Code, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has established a dedicated email address to collect product complaints for analysis and investigation.

We encourage you to get in touch with us at products@mbie.govt.nz if you have a complaint about a particular building product. Even though a number of concerns have been raised in the media, MBIE has yet to receive specific details or evidence for most of these.

We also encourage you to pass on this email address to anyone else you know has specific concerns.

Your efforts will greatly help us in our investigations and in trying to establish the degree of any problems within the building market.

As the Commerce Commission is responsible for dealing with false or unsubstantiated claims as well as misleading advertising, please direct any complaints about such issues directly to them. We may also refer a complaint to the Commerce Commission if we believe it is within its jurisdiction rather than (or as well as) our own.

MBIE's role and responsibilities in relation to building products are to monitor the market, investigate complaints and deal with products that don’t comply with the Building Code. An investigation by MBIE might result in a formal warning or ban issued on the use of a product, guidance issued to the industry, or more education provided to those involved in manufacturing, supplying, specifying or installing building products.

MBIE has recently updated its product assurance toolkit to help explain to product manufacturers and suppliers the various legal obligations they have and how to determine what they need to do to show their product complies with the Building Code. This toolkit is available online.

So we can investigate your complaint fully please include the following information:

  • the name of the building product
  • where it was purchased or who it was supplied by, if this is known
  • any compliance information you have for the product from the manufacturer or supplier; such as test reports, assessments or calculations, claims of compliance, technical information etc
  • the reasons why you believe the product does not comply with the Building Code
  • any evidence of failure; such as photographs, or locations where it was used
  • any other information you think supports an investigation.

Please email this to products@mbie.govt.nz or you can also post or courier it to:

Determinations and Assurance
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
15 Stout Street
Wellington 6011

All information received by MBIE is public information and, if requested, we may have to release details about your complaint to other individuals or organisations under the Official Information Act 1982.

There might be grounds under that Act to withhold information you have provided (such as privacy concerns or commercial sensitivity). Please indicate in your email or correspondence if there is any information you would like to be withheld. If MBIE decides to withhold any information, the requestor of the information can ask the Ombudsman to review the decision.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: