New regulations for building product information that come into effect on Dec 11 could bring significant changes for homeowners, builders and designers.
However, according to the National MP for Port Waikato, Andrew Bayly, the changes are “unnecessarily onerous” and will significantly burden the industry.
Bayly, National’s building and construction spokesperson, said industry members are concerned that new building product information requirements (BPIR) will force them to disclose confidential information.
He said the suppliers divulging contact details of any manufacturer would undermine commercially sensitive relationships and would have negative consequences for their businesses.
“This will be of no advantage to the end user and gives away any intellectual property to competitors, both in NZ and overseas.
“It is not acceptable that MBIE [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment] has been unable to give clear, understandable reasons as to why businesses should make this information public.”
He said the industry is concerned about the workload the regulations will impose on them.
“They are also concerned that a large number of businesses may fall foul of the requirements because they are not aware of the pending requirements.”
He said MBIE has told the industry there will be no grace period, which risks creating supply issues in the new year.
Bayly said National would adopt the new product specification rules in December but would not require commercially sensitive contact details of the original manufacturer to be disclosed.
MBIE’s website describes the proposed changes as a way to help homeowners and builders choose and use products correctly.
“The new product information requirements will make basic information about building products and how to use them more available and help streamline consenting.
“In addition, an increasing range and complexity of building products and building methods, and cheaper alternatives available, has increased the risk of not meeting building code requirements by using products that are not fit for purpose, or not used correctly.”
MBIE published a building system reform summary of submissions nearly two years ago after a consultation period in mid-2021.
In the report, MBIE sought engagement by sending 4,000 notices to stakeholders who may have an interest. It stated the document was downloaded 836 times.
MBIE met with a range of stakeholders, including building consent authorities, industry body OffsiteNZ, accreditation body JASANZ, Taituarā - Local Government Professionals Aotearoa, and large retailers to help shape the proposals.
“The largest number of submissions came from businesses, and of those businesses, product manufacturers made the most submissions.”
Various industry organisations submitted feedback on the proposals, including builders, architects, plumbers, truss manufacturers and window and glass manufacturers.
MBIE’s report showed the majority agreed or somewhat agreed with the proposals for regulations for all areas.
The level of agreement was highest for building product information requirements proposals, at 83%.
“Two submitters said that full material composition lists should be provided to contribute to health information, while other submitters (six) were concerned about the potential intellectual property implications of releasing data, particularly for small and medium enterprises.”
The majority agreed with the proposed responsibilities for manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers. However, some raised concerns that importers may not be held to the same standards as local manufacturers.
Lockwood Group Limited and Global-Mark raised concerns they may be required to release intellectual property.
Dunedin city council raised concerns that costs of regulation may restrict the supply of building products into the NZ market.
“Submitters also raised concerns about the responsibilities on distributors and retailers, including that an unreasonable cost would be imposed on retailers and passed on to consumers.”