Summary and materials of the November 2019 meeting of the Building Code Technical Risk Advisory Group (BCTRAG).
Dave Robson presented a business update focusing on achievements and projects since the last meeting, this includes:
- Commencement of a Climate Change work programme to support the Carbon Zero Bill. Significant adaptation, mitigation and embodied carbon changes are planned along with innovative approaches and supporting research covering all aspects of the build lifecycle
- The delivery of the November 2019 biannual Building Code update included a new Acceptable Solution for steel framing and updates to liquefaction prone ground
- The June 2020 biannual Building Code update may include updated rainfall maps, a new Acceptable Solution for water drainage systems and updates on overflow, web-membrane solution and façade testing solutions.
An update on the progress and content of Bill One and Two of the Building System Legislative Reform Programme was provided and led to discussions regarding interlinkages between programmes of work and further consultation opportunities.
Standards vs internal document development
Currently compliance documents are typically standards cited in the Building Code. This means a significant number of documents are developed by an independent committee following the standards development legislation.
Impacts of the standards process include a longer delivery timeline due to, among other factors, consensus based decision making and no ability for MBIE to influence the scope or membership. Additionally, some policy settings are decided by committee that MBIE cannot influence leading to outcomes that are not aligned with MBIE policy settings.
Mitigation advice from the BCTRAG is to consider the appropriate vehicle for the development and disseminating information (standards, technical specifications) and how they relate to, and support compliance with the Building Code.
Five risks were discussed with the conversation on climate change (risks one and two) forming one in-depth discussion.
Alignment of design standards with building life & changes in loading from climate change and making our Building Code climate change ready
Currently the Building Code may be out of step with the potential impacts from climate change.
Impacts include that the building code does not enable buildings to be developed that can adapt to anticipated climate change impacts including sea rises, wind loads, temperature changes and product availability.
Mitigation advice from the BCTRAG included reviewing the building code for adequate support of climate change. More specifically, it was noted that a whole of building, environment and agency approach needs to be taken, including Insurers, BCA’s and District Planning.
Tiny home compliance pathways
Currently the Building Code may not be enabling the efficient design and construction of small dwellings “tiny houses” of which the group opined that usage is growing.
The impacts of not having an exclusive, clear and concise small dwelling compliance process may include increasing commercial costs and impacts around the building design and consenting process.
Mitigation advice from the BCTRAG is for MBIE to consider developing a compliance pathway for small dwelling.
Independent Qualified Person’s unable to identify performance standards
Currently the feedback provided by IANZ (BCA process auditors) is inconsistent between BCA’s.
Impacts may include differing amendments to processes and business practices of a BCA.
Mitigation advice from the BCTRAG is that this advice should be passed onto the building system assurance audit / review function as it is not something the Building Code system can influence.
Review of the Building Code
It was agreed in the group that this was too broad a topic for a single discussion. This will be discussed as separate discussion areas at future meetings for example:
Are roles and responsibilities clear between building system participants,
is there good general understanding of the building code (for example uses of compliance documents),
In practice, do we still have a performance based building code.
The next meeting will be 21st February 2020 in Wellington.
If you have any risks you would like to be raised for discussion please contact the BCTRAG member associated with your role in the industry.