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  • Important reforms proposed for Building Act

    Help is on its way for Building Act regulators. Central Government is proposing sweeping reforms to the Building Act – the most significant since it was introduced in 2004. MBIE has recognised the long-standing issues with the building regulatory system, many of which we have written about in Straight Up. It has started a consultation…

  • Path to prosecuting under the Building Act now clearer than ever

    Do councils need a Judge’s permission to file charges under s 40 of the Building Act? And, can a person be convicted of an offence? Rice Speir recently argued a precedent-setting case for Auckland Council, which answered these two questions. The case, which will be of interest to all councils, is available on our website…

  • Opinion: Where is NZTA heading?

    This article was originally published on NZ Truck and Driver. Call me the black sheep, or Jethro West, of the Speir family. Road Torque readers might recognise the name. Steve Speir, my father, has run Minishifts in Auckland for the past 25 years. Although he probably won’t admit it, Dad learned his trade from my grandfather,…

  • Time to “tidy up” your dangerous, insanitary and affected building policy?

    At the start of a new year I – like many people – have become hooked on Netflix’s cult new show about the art of decluttering. If you haven’t seen “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” yet, be prepared to fold tea towels like you never knew you could. These tidy up principles don’t just apply…

  • If you snooze, you lose – prosecuting under the Building Act 2004

    The moment a council officer notices something wrong at a building site, the clock begins ticking on a prosecution. A council gets just six months to prosecute under the Building Act from that moment.  Once you know (or should know) about non-compliant building work, time starts to run for filing charging documents in Court. Running…

  • A welcome initiative from MBIE on the “gap” in B2

    In May 2018, at the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand Conference, Helen Rice and I convened a panel discussion on an issue facing most councils in New Zealand – design engineers refusing to certify compliance with clause B2 of the Building Code. We explained that the situation is a directive from IPENZ and ACENZ,…

  • The new workplace hazard for Council officers – online attacks

    For those in positions of official responsibility, and particularly in local government, the prospect of public frustration over certain decisions is ever-present.  People forget that a council officer is simply doing his or her job when they are faced with delays and expense from a problematic project.  It is easy for a council officer to…

  • Dangerous and affected buildings in 2018

    Rice Speir’s recent involvement in the “Bella Vista Homes” situation in Tauranga has prompted this update on the dangerous and affected building regime in the Building Act 2004 (the Act).  As media reports suggest it is unprecedented for 21 homes to have been issued with dangerous and/or affected building notices at the same time.  In addition,…

  • The right tool for the job in Building Act enforcement

    Failing to comply with a notice to fix. Recently we assisted Tasman District Council in prosecuting a landowner who had transformed his rural, two-storey shed into a potential dwelling. The council’s practices received a glowing endorsement from the Court, which is always worth celebrating. The basic facts were that neighbours first complained of the man’s…