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$170,000 in Fines for Building Offences in Toowoomba

Written by building4u  on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:21  in World News
$170,000 in Fines for Building Offences in Toowoomba

$170,000 in Fines for Building Offences in Toowoomba

Convictions and fines of $170,000 have been handed down in Toowoomba Magistrates Court to the directors of the Rethink Kitchens and Bathrooms company and related entities, for defective and unlicensed building work.

The convictions follow fines of $235,000 to the same entity in 2011, for similar offences.

Building Services Authority General Manager, Ian Jennings, has welcomed the result of the action, which was launched by his organisation.

Kevin McCloud to Support the Self-Build Surge

Written by building4u  on Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:10  in World News
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Kevin McCloud to Support the Self-Build Surge

Kevin McCloud to Support the Self-Build Surge

Self-Build Industry Champion and New £30 Million Fund will Boost the Self Build Revolution

Kevin McCloud has been appointed by the self-build industry to support the national surge of interest in people looking to design and build their own home.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said he was delighted that the National Self Build Association had appointed Mr McCloud, presenter of Channel 4's Grand Designs and an architecture specialist, and he was the ideal choice to help aspiring self-builders achieve their dreams.

Mr Shapps also announced a new £30 million fund for self builders, which will provide short-term finance to help unlock projects where groups of self-build homes are built at the same time.

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Commission Urges Tax Refund Agents to Comply With The Fair Trading Act

Commission Urges Tax Refund Agents to Comply With The Fair Trading Act

The Commerce Commission has put personal tax summary intermediaries (PTSIs) on notice that they may be failing to meet their obligations under the Fair Trading Act.

PTSIs are a type of tax refund agent that process income tax refunds for salary and wage earners. They typically offer their services through temporary locations at shopping centres, as well as over the internet.

The Commission has written to 30 PTSIs urging them to take a good look at their websites and marketing practices. The Commission is insisting PTSIs clearly disclose crucial information about the cost of their services and any ongoing contractual relationship with customers.

Property Council Appoints New President

Written by building4u  on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:02  in Local News
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Tony Sewell, National President of the Property Council

Tony Sewell, National President of the Property Council

Tony Sewell, chief executive of Ngāi Tahu Property Limited was elected as National President by Property Council in Auckland yesterday. Today is Mr Sewell's first day on the job.

As new National President, Mr Sewell will bring a wealth of knowledge spanning more than 40 years in the construction and property industries, along with an understanding of current seismic challenges in Canterbury and throughout New Zealand.

He has been in charge of the Iwi-owned business since its establishment in 1994, and a member of Property Council since 1999. Under Mr Sewell's guidance, Ngāi Tahu has grown its asset base from $2 million to become the South Island's strongest property company with an asset base now in excess of $500 million.

"My appointment recognises the significant role that the Maori economy now plays in New Zealand, particularly in the property sector," said Mr Sewell.

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New Guidance for Repairing and Rebuilding Foundations in TC3 Areas of Canterbury

New Guidance for Repairing and Rebuilding Foundations in TC3 Areas of Canterbury

The Department of Building and Housing (the Department) has today published guidance on foundation repairs and reconstruction for houses in Foundation Technical Category 3 (TC3) areas of Canterbury.

The guidance is an appendix to the Department's Revised guidance on repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquake sequence published in November 2011.

It is intended for professional geotechnical and structural engineers tasked with designing appropriate foundation systems for individual properties.

Housing Consents Trend Continues to Edge Up

Written by building4u  on Friday, 30 March 2012 14:36  in Local News
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Housing Consents Trend Continues to Edge Up

Housing Consents Trend Continues to Edge Up

In February 2012, the number of new houses consented continued to trend upward, but the rate has slowed in recent months, Statistics New Zealand said today.

The trend for the number of new houses, including apartments, has risen 23 percent since April 2011, the lowest point in its 30-year history.

After seasonal fluctuations were removed, housing consents fell 6.7 percent in February, after rising 8.1 percent in the month before.

DBH Responds to Confusion over RBW Raised by Building4u

Written by building4u  on Thursday, 29 March 2012 10:40  in Local News
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 DBH Responds to Confusion over RBW Raised by Building4u

DBH Responds to Confusion over RBW Raised by Building4u

DBH has responded to our recent article "Confusion over Definition of Restricted Building Work in Building Amendment Act 2012 – Has it really changed or is it just a drafting mistake?" (Click Here to read that article)

The Department of Building and Housing's Manager of Operational Policy, Craig Hill, advises that "The Department is aware that recent amendments to the Building Act 2004 have resulted in some confusion in the building industry as to whether construction work is "restricted building work" (RBW).

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Billions Lost to Fraud in The Construction Sector

Billions Lost to Fraud in The Construction Sector

A financial director who stole £1.8m from Leslie Clark Construction Consultants, a top firm of international chartered surveyors, has been convicted and jailed for four years. Andrew Stubbs stole funds by forging thousands of cheques in order to feed a gambling addition over an eight year period.

Unfortunately, fraudulent activity has become far more prevalent in the construction industry during the last few years, with the National Audit Office estimating that £6.5bn a year is lost to fraud in this sector alone. A report by Transparency International also listed the construction industry as the business sector most prone to bribery, something that the courts have increasingly been focusing on since the advent of the Bribery Act 2010.

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Construction Report Highlights Building Industry’s Economic Potential

Construction Report Highlights Building Industry’s Economic Potential

CSG seeks policies for smoothing volatility to avoid "near catastrophic" bust - Government has a key role in ensuring forward certainty for the sector, allowing it to develop skills and boost labour productivity.

The Construction Strategy Group (CSG) was formed in May, 2010 with a stated purpose to provide leadership and strategic direction to grow a productive, value driven professional building and construction industry.

The potential for New Zealand's building and construction industry to lead the country out of its current unemployment malaise and significantly lift domestic economic performance is highlighted in a comprehensive report "Valuing the Role of Construction in the NZ Economy" which was released on 14 October 2011.

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Commerce Commission Cautions Playground Equipment Companies over Safety Claims

Commerce Commission Cautions Playground Equipment Companies over Safety Claims

The Commerce Commission has cautioned children's playground manufacturers and suppliers who say they comply with safely standards that they need to ensure they aren't making false claims. Any false claims would be in breach of the Fair Trading Act 1986.

Following a complaint, the Commission investigated a sample of companies that manufacture or supply playground equipment to see if they were able to support their claims of complying with the NZS 5828:2004 safety standard.

Building DIY Exemption Welcomed

Written by building4u  on Thursday, 22 March 2012 09:17  in Local News
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Building DIY Exemption Welcomed

Building DIY Exemption Welcomed

Building and Construction Minister, Maurice Williamson, says that a major step towards ensuring better buildings can be built faster has been taken with Parliament passing the Building Amendment Act 2012.

The Minister says the Act is part of a package of reforms designed to lift standards in the building and construction sector and give homeowners added peace of mind.

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What is Restricted Building Work

What is Restricted Building Work

The Building Amendment Act 2012 (the Amendment Act) which came into force on 13 March 2012 has altered the definition of restricted building work (RBW).

It is unclear whether this change was intentional – we suspect not if the objectives of the current review and proposed reforms of the Building Act 2004 (BA2004) are to be met.

Drilling Company Fined for Polluting Stream

Written by building4u  on Friday, 16 March 2012 09:45  in Local News
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Drilling Company Fined for Polluting Stream

Drilling Company Fined for Polluting Stream

Specialist drilling contractor, Total Control Drilling Ltd (TCD) was fined $10,500 and ordered to pay costs by Environment Judge Brian Dwyer in the New Plymouth District Court on 17 December 2011 when it pleaded guilty to breaching the Resource Management Act after losing control of a bore and polluting a tributary of the Tawhiti Stream in Hawera. The Tawhiti stream is a tributary of the Tangahoe river, a river catchment with high natural ecological and amenity values.

TCD is based in the Bay of Plenty and operates a sub-branch in Taranaki. In January 2011 it was carrying out drilling operations at Graeme Lowe's Hawera property when it says it struck an underground aquifer causing its sediment controls and settlement ponds to be overwhelmed by the volume of the discharge and allowing silt to enter the stream. The court was told that such was the flow rate of water from the aquifer that negotiations are under way for the municipal water supply of Hawera to be connected to the source.

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Dulux Recalls Toy Dogs

Dulux Recalls Toy Dogs

The Dulux Group is voluntarily recalling more than 100,000 promotional toy dogs in New Zealand and Australia that may not comply with the New Zealand Product Safety Standards (Toys) Regulations 2005 (the Regulations) for children's toys.

The toy dog was given to consumers as a gift in the 'Jelly Beans and me' promotion which offered consumers a Dulux toy dog and a kilogram of jelly beans with any purchase of either a 10 litre pail or two four litre cans of premium paint. The dogs were provided nationwide, through paint and hardware retailers, between 15 February and 9 March 2012.

Following an investigation by the Commerce Commission, it was established that the toy might pose a choking hazard to young children as some of the toy's fur can come away when pulled, sucked or chewed. Concern about the product arose when the Commerce Commission received a complaint about the fur of the dog coming loose and ending up in the mouth of a small child. The child was not injured.

Building Activity Increases Following Historic Low

Written by building4u  on Monday, 12 March 2012 15:44  in Local News
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Building Activity Increases Following Historic Low

Building Activity Increases Following Historic Low

Building activity increased 2.9 percent in the December 2011 quarter, following the previous quarter's 10-year low, Statistics New Zealand said today. This increase was led by residential building activity (up 4.4 percent, after adjusting for price and seasonal effects), and building work in Canterbury also appeared to boost the figures.

"In Canterbury, there appeared to be a greater increase in building activity than in the rest of New Zealand," industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said. "This was true for both residential and non-residential building." The Canterbury movements described are only an indication of the effect of the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, as this survey is designed for accuracy at the national level, not regionally.

Shortlisted Parties bring Expertise to Pomare Redevelopment

Shortlisted Parties bring Expertise to Pomare Redevelopment

As part of its work to reconfigure the state housing portfolio, the Corporation is redeveloping the Pomare are of Lower Hutt. The state housing stock in the area consists mainly of three-bedroom properties, which are poorly matched with priority demand. There is a high vacancy rate in the area, which is exacerbated by significant social issues.

In August 2011 the Corporation removed 27 old state homes on the corner of High Street and Farmer Crescent. The Corporation plans to remove a further 61 properties in the area before redeveloping it during 2012 to provide a mix of social, affordable, and private housing and create a safer, more vibrant community.

Experts Identify Critical Factors in CTV Collapse

Written by building4u  on Thursday, 09 February 2012 13:23  in Local News
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Experts Identify Critical Factors in CTV Collapse

Experts Identify Critical Factors in CTV Collapse

9 February 2012: Intense ground shaking, non-ductile columns and the asymmetrical layout of shear walls were the critical factors contributing to the collapse of the CTV building during the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, a Department of Building and Housing technical investigation has found.

The Government ordered the investigation in March 2011, along with investigations into the failure of the Pyne Gould Corporation, Forsyth Barr, and Hotel Grand Chancellor buildings, following the 22 February 2011 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which claimed the lives of 184 people, including 115 in the CTV building.

Worker Crushed By 2.5 Tonne Concrete Panel

Written by building4u  on Tuesday, 07 February 2012 15:35  in Local News
Remember Safety when working with Concrete Panels

Remember Safety when working with Concrete Panels

A Wellington transport company has been fined $30,000 following an accident in March this year where a self-employed contractor was lucky to survive being crushed by a 2.5 tonne concrete panel.

Rough Terrain Transport Limited was also ordered to pay $20,000 in reparation to the contractor who broke his right shoulder and both legs and ankles in the accident on 4 March 2011.

The Porirua District Court heard that Rough Terrain Transport Limited was contracted by Wallace Building Contractors Limited (WBCL) to transport precast concrete panels from a building site in Porirua.

The Department of Labour investigation found that an employee from Rough Terrain Transport Limited was asked to transport two concrete panels using a process he had never performed before. The employee was not adequately trained or supervised to carry out the task correctly.

Too Many Construction Workers are Dying Still

Written by building4u  on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:20  in Local News
Too Many Construction Workers are Dying Still

Too Many Construction Workers are Dying Still

Four construction workers died at work last year, and more than 650 were seriously hurt on building sites across the country.

Provisional statistics released by the Department of Labour today show that there were 41 workplace fatalities in New Zealand last year, with construction one of sectors where the most harm occurred.

"Just one death, is one too many – and it is unacceptable that construction has such a high accident rate in New Zealand," says the Department's Southern General Manager Jean Martin.

“Build it Right” New Zealand

Written by building4u  on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 13:01  in Local News
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“Build it Right” New Zealand

“Build it Right” New Zealand

17 January 2012: The Department of Building and Housing today launched a two-year campaign "Build it Right" aimed at improving the quality of building in New Zealand and increasing the confidence of consumers.

The initiative will improve the productivity, efficiency and accountability of the building sector in New Zealand.

The first major change is the introduction of Restricted Building Work (RBW) on 1 March 2012. This means most residential building work requiring a building consent must be carried out by Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP).

Construction Industry Review & Future Forecast

Written by building4u  on Monday, 19 December 2011 07:52  in Local News
Construction Industry Review & Future Forecast

Construction Industry Review & Future Forecast

Is the industry still under a cloud of doom and gloom? Things are looking up with the Caterbury rebuild to add 20bn to the industry and rapid growth in both the Auckland and Canterbury regions forecast for 2012. Keep reading to find out more about where the industry sits currently, what's changed over the past 12 months and what the forecasts are going forward.

The Construction Sector: Past, Present and Future

- Construction activity has been a notable area of weakness in the New Zealand economy over the last few years.

- We think there is evidence that activity in the sector has turned, and expect it to expand further over 2012.

- Even our expectation for a slow rebuild in Canterbury will provide a huge stimulus for the industry in 2012.

- And a shortage of housing in Auckland should spur new house building further North.

Wellington Demolition Company Fined $20,000 For Failing to Keep Employee and Community Safe

Wellington Demolition Company Fined $20,000 For Failing to Keep Employee and Community Safe

A Wellington demolition company has today been fined $20,000 after a contractor was exposed to asbestos fibres and live electricity while working on an inner city site.

The Wellington District Court heard that Concrete Drilling and Cutting (1992) Limited was contracted to demolish two buildings in Wellington's Willis Street.

"Concrete Drilling and Cutting failed to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee during the demolition of the site," says the Department of Labour's Southern General Manager, Jean Martin.

"In an inspection of the site, our inspectors found that the electricity had not been disconnected prior to demolition and testing identified that there was asbestos in the building.

Victorian Building Control System in Crisis

Written by John Green  on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:24  in World News
Victorian Building Control System in Crisis

Victorian Building Control System in Crisis

A damning audit by the Victorian Auditor-General's Office reveals that the Victorian building control system, considered to be the best in the world in the early nineties, is in crisis and something needs to be done about bringing it "back in line".

A key finding of the audit is that the Building Commission cannot demonstrate that the building permit system is working effectively or that building surveyors are effectively discharging their role to uphold and enforce minimum building and safety standards posing significant risks to the health and safety of Victorians.

Boxpark, Shoreditch, London

Boxpark, Shoreditch, London

Container architecture frequently – and inherently – intersects with green building practices. Here in New York City, for example, the New York Center for Sustainable Energy opened earlier this fall in Brooklyn: designed by Gensler, the structure was built from used 40-foot steel shipping containers as a net zero educational and electric vehicle charging station for Brooklyn Bridge Park. More generally, people seem intrigued by the design possibilities implicated by these large – and frequently colorful – steel structures that have been manipulated in many interesting ways. But a pending lawsuit against a pop-up shopping mall in New Zealand – built with shipping containers – now has some commentators wondering about the future of this type of architecture. At a minimum, the dispute also presents a good opportunity to reflect on certain key provisions in design and construction contracts.

Philip O'Sullivan Elected as New President of the NZIBS

Written by building4u  on Thursday, 08 December 2011 13:00  in Local News
Philip O'Sullivan Elected as New President of the NZIBS

Philip O'Sullivan Elected as New President of the NZIBS

Philip O'Sullivan, Director at Prendos, has recently been elected as President of the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors (NZIBS). Phillip has been associated with the NZIBS since 1996.

For more information on the history of the NZIBS and the role it fulfills please keep reading.

NZIBS – New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors

The New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors was established in 1994. It is a national body that educates, approves and registers skilled, professional building surveyors to achieve an appropriate degree of qualification, knowledge and experience.

It is expected that a Registered Building Surveyor would have a working knowledge and ability to undertake tasks identified within the following areas of expertise, however some specific items may require specialist knowledge and research in excess of normal expectations.

Building Activity Falls in the September Quarter

Written by building4u  on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 14:19  in Local News
Building Activity Falls in the September Quarter

Building Activity Falls in the September Quarter

Building activity fell 2.3 percent in the September 2011 quarter (after adjusting for price and seasonal effects), Statistics New Zealand said today. The latest quarter's fall again brings building activity to the lowest level in 10 years. A drop in non-residential building activity led to the latest quarterly fall, while residential building activity was unchanged.

Non-residential building activity has fallen over the latest three quarters, and in the September 2011 quarter was at a similar low level as in the December 2009 quarter.

Residential building activity was at its lowest level in 18 years. This coincided with consents issued for new homes also hitting a near-record low earlier in 2011. Building consents issued indicate the intention to build, and building activity estimates the work that was put in place.

Employee Injured When Pinned Under Roller

Written by building4u  on Monday, 28 November 2011 08:47  in Local News
Employee Injured When Pinned Under Roller

Employee Injured When Pinned Under Roller

25 November 2011

Two companies from Taranaki have been fined a total of $71,500 after an employee suffered serious injuries when the hired machine he was operating rolled down a slope, pinning him underneath.

Taranaki Civil Construction Limited was fined $38,500 and ordered to pay $12,000 in reparation to its employee who suffered a compound fracture to his right arm and lacerations to his scalp and neck.

Graham Harris (2000) Limited, the company that hired out the roller, was fined $33,000 and ordered to pay $4,000 in reparation for failing to ensure the roller was safe to use.

Housing Consents up in October '11 from Last Year

Written by building4u  on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 11:48  in Local News
Housing Consents up in October '11 from Last Year

Housing Consents up in October '11 from Last Year

Building consents issued in October 2011 show more new houses being approved, compared with October 2010, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Most of the increase occurred in Auckland, where consents were up 128 dwellings from October 2010.

"New house approvals show a rising trend for seven consecutive months, following historically low levels," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. "Seasonally adjusted numbers fell markedly in September but are up again in October."

Manukau District Court to be Extended and Improved

Written by building4u  on Monday, 07 November 2011 09:10  in News
Manukau District Court to be Extended and Improved

Manukau District Court to be Extended and Improved

Manukau District Court will be extended and improved as part of a wider programme to ensure the Ministry of Justice's front-line services are well equipped for the future, Minister for Courts Georgina te Heuheu announced today.

"Recent justice sector initiatives are allowing better use of existing resources and reducing the need to invest so much in properties in the region," Mrs te Heuheu says.

"However, strong population growth in the area means Manukau District Court is projected to have a critical shortage of courtroom and hearing room capacity, making an investment in additional building space for the area a must."

The Pyne Gould Building

The Pyne Gould Building

Strong ground shaking and extremely high vertical accelerations were among the principal reasons why three key Christchurch buildings failed in the 22 February earthquake, the Department of Building and Housing announced today.

The Department today released its report from its technical investigation into three large multi-storey Christchurch buildings - Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC), Forsyth Barr and Hotel Grand Chancellor buildings.

The investigation has been conducted by leading New Zealand engineering consultants and their findings peer reviewed by a panel that includes experts with international experience and standing.