Thursday, June 20, 2024

Flight of chance

I see this morning that KIW690 is halfway back to Cairns from Tokyo.

A flight of chance.  

Will it make it or will Mr. Luxon have to spend more hours on the deck in Port Moresby?

Monday, June 17, 2024

Removing bureaucrats from your next build [updated]

“Removing the regulatory red tape will not only speed up the build process, it is also estimated to save up to $6,500 just in the standard building and resource consenting fees per build, not to mention all the savings in time and resource," Bishop said.

As a possible owner-builder, I'm all for total removal of the arse-covering box-ticking assume zero responsibility bureaucracy of hoops to jump through councils currently impose on prospective builders.  A knee-jerk reaction to leaky buildings they say.  My local bureaucracy (FNDC) wants to charge $7K+ just for a building consent, let alone anything to do with a resource consent!  And not to mention the "permission to build" separately charged PIM.  God help you if the local savages decide to need to run their eye over proceedings. Taniwhas and necessary bribes abound in those processes.  

Below are some issues that add to the regulatory overburden for owner-builders.

If you can reliably nail or screw bits of 4x2 together, or successfully maintain / replace a single piece of weatherboard / roofing iron / gutter,  pour a concrete footing, you could be an owner-builder.  Although legally mandated, unfortunately there is zero support from the bureaucracy for anything to do with owner-builds.

We have a proven, long established, mostly functional, current building code (NZS 3604:2011) that limits the build envelope to 10m height, 12m maximum width, anything over that envelope needs an engineer.  It also has very well defined range of buildable wind zones which ultimately determine the well listed bracing requirements, up to Extra High (200 km/h) wind zone, above which an engineered design is again required.

Recently a 30 square metres allowance was given for small buildings, an increase from an archaic 25m2 allowance, still not even big enough for a decent 2-car garage.  Now this government wants to go to 60m2 for granny flats attached to an existing main house without council regs.  Good on that!  

Unfortunately, previously when the increase to 30m2 occurred, the last Labour government saw fit to further restrict owner-build options under the building code to exclude the well detailed Extra High wind zone and reduced the envelope height limit to 8m.  Insidious changes to force further entrenchment of regulations.  No doubt engineers had a say in that to preserve their uber-expensive work stream, similarly as was said elsewhere  (Slam Dunc) re this new change - "the engineer will need to run their eye over your design and your good to go!".   I hate to think how much "engineer" will be inserted in this latest mooted change.

I say no to any engineer increase, the current envelope limited building code was designed way back in 1999 to get engineers out of the workstream on residential builds.  It has been extensively modified since then to even include necessary changes from the Canterbury earthquakes. From the BRANZ Basis of Engineering of NZS3604 the ethos is as below:

NZS 3604 Timber-framed buildings sets out the construction requirements for light timber-framed buildings in New Zealand that do not require specific structural engineering design. By limiting the size of the building and scope of application, a series of solutions are presented, enabling a designer to select an element or detail appropriate to the situation without needing to engage a structural engineer.

For those users of NZS 3604 whose projects, designs or systems fall outside its scope, it is important to know the technical basis for the standard. This report documents the engineering basis used to derive the technical provisions of NZS 3604, including the member selection tables and connections. Ambiguities and problem areas are highlighted for attention by future standards drafting committees.

Engineers (and architects) currently do everything to insert themselves into the residential build workstream, causing the owner-builder near insurmountable hurdles.  Councils, each in their own fiefdom, do everything to make design difficult - every consent requires endless paperwork on proven products to support the consent.  Most of this paperwork is commercially available for products that are widely utilised in multiple residential builds.  If a product is stated to meet a required design standard - no paperwork should be required!  Manufacturers employ a lot of expensive engineers to prove their product meet the standards.  

Council wallahs are no more than box-tickers when such products are questioned over fitness for purpose.  (witness the recent furore over Winstone Gib plasterboard versus Elephant plasterboard - councils said if Gib was specified, the equivalent could not be used)

BRANZ is another trougher - every house consent is taxed (BRANZ levy) on the build cost.  Now an owner-builder is rightly not allowed to charge for his/her time on build, but the local council thieves tax the consent as if the build was done by a fully charged out builder!  Another regulation in dire need of change.

Now if we can in future build 60m2 granny flats without regulation, why not build a house 3 bedroom (about 95m2) without the bureaucracy? An increase of 35m2 should be easy, after all the only difference is more bedrooms!

Watch this space - councils and engineers will do every thing to stymie the owner-builder workstream.

I look forward to any small steps toward total removal of councils out of the build workstream.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024


“Māori wards are a mini version of Māori seats in Parliament. Is your next step after Māori wards to remove Māori seats in Parliament?”

The answer to that question is an emphatic "Yes!"

The sooner the better for New Zealand.

Further in same article:

“Local community members deserve to have a say in their governance arrangements.”

via Granny, as naysayers do their level best to stop the bill.