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  • Talking about Bigfoot – Kāinga Ora’s quest to become a BCA

    There’s a new mythical creature stirring debate and concern amongst our council clients, but it’s yet to be seen clearly in the wild. Before Covid-19 hit the headlines, we all heard about Kāinga Ora’s expansive powers, lofty goals and the worry that it’ll run roughshod over local councils.  But is there any truth to the…

  • Breaking news – tiny house deemed to be a vehicle, not a building

    This week the District Court has answered a question about whether a tiny house is a building or a vehicle.  In Dall v the Chief Executive of MBIE (available for download by following the link here) Judge Callaghan disagreed with MBIE’s interpretation and set aside the determination together with the council’s notice to fix. The…

  • Tiny houses major headaches for councils

    The tiny house movement has well and truly swept the country. It goes without saying that bringing affordable, warm and dry homes to the New Zealand market is a fantastic thing. However, what often gets overlooked are the issues that these houses create for councils. At a time of unprecedented growth, demand for people and…

  • 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…