BCTRAG June 2019 meeting

Last updated: 3 July 2019

bctrag meeting header image

Summary and materials of the 5 June 2019 meeting of the Building Code Technical Risk Advisory Group (BCTRAG).


The Manager, Building Performance and Engineering (BPE) presented a business update, covering:

- Building Code changes made during the June 2019 round of the biannual consultation, including the announcement of the new Verification Method E2/VM2 and the amendment of G4/AS1 to align with the Healthy Homes Standards.

- The work with Standards NZ to prioritise Standards for update, and the merging of six Acceptable Solutions for fire into one document.

The BPE Team Leader, Engineering presented an overview of the evolution of MBIE’s position on ‘good ground’ and the potential for expanding the scope of liquefaction/lateral spread in the Building Code. The group then discussed the implications of modifying the definition.

Read the minutes to find out more about the Building Code update and the presentation on good ground.

Risks discussed

Five risk submissions were received and discussed at the June meeting.

Post-event business continuity planning, functionality, damage control and building reparability

The group discussed how the definition of amenity could be clarified or extended to reduce confusion and questioned whether the minimum standard should address building continuity as well as life safety.

The group identified a strategic risk regarding whether the objectives of the Building Act for resilience are being met. They discussed the implication of the Building Code basing resilience on just the building, while event outcomes generally impact a wider community. The group also acknowledged that resilience considerations may differ for high-density buildings and discussed if consideration should be given to incentivise development above the minimum standards.

Performance data is not being collected to identify areas of best practice and concern

The group discussed the narrow scope of data collection on building performance and identified the lack of a feedback loop as a strategic risk. The feedback loop should be based on consistent, reliable and qualitative data to guide strategy and subsequently measure the success of initiatives.

BPE commented that the BSP Strategy and Performance team is working on a strategy for how to measure the performance of the building system.

Participation on the AS4678 review project for earth retaining structures

The group identified a risk related to how BPE is funding and managing Standards, development timelines, access costs and the suitability of the Australian Standard for earth retaining structures for the New Zealand environment.

BPE advised that it is reviewing the pathways used for deploying information, including where a Standard is the appropriate vehicle given its place in the Building Code system.

The BPE Team Leader – Engineering also provided a verbal overview to the geotechnical five-year plan currently being developed, including geotech-specific compliance pathways and work projects.

Circumventing the Building Code

The group discussed two related strategic risks:

1. That ambiguity exists at a number of points in the building lifecycle regarding change of use and risk ownership, specifically affecting BCAs ability to intervene, e.g. garage conversions, Airbnb, inability to issue a 'notice to fix' for work undertaken by a previous owner.

2. The Building Act definitions of building are causing challenges with modern trends of building i.e. construction in one area and relocating/building off-shore.

The group identified that an opportunity exists to provide clarity and additional tools to council and territorial authorities to aid in dealing with ambiguous compliance scenarios.

Building categorisation

The group discussed that there are multiple ways of categorising a building in the Building Act and Building Code and agreed that a strategic risk exists around industry confusion on which categorisation to apply.

MBIE agreed that there is a need to simplify the current system.

Next steps

The next meeting of the BCTRAG will be held 29 August in Wellington.

If you have any risks you would like to be raised for discussion, contact the BCTRAG member associated with your role in the industry.

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: