Goff calls for Building Act overhaul

Auckland's Mayor has issued a dire warning about the country's housing crisis.

Phil Goff says the Building Act and Code needs radical and urgent reform.

"Aucklanders deserve to have greater assurance that when they buy a new home or renovate an existing one, the work done will be of high standard," said Goff.

He says the Government's latest discussion paper on the crisis misses out key concerns raised by a mayoral housing taskforce.

"It's time to change the situation whereby shoddy building products and poor design and workmanship are a cost loaded on to ratepayers rather than those whose incompetence cause the problem.

"The weather tightness issue has cost ratepayers $600 million because those who did the poor work are nowhere to be found and the council as the consenter is the 'last man still standing'."

"What we need is an insurance and warranty scheme that directly incentivises companies to do the job properly and for general ratepayers through council to meet only a fair proportion of liability for substandard work. The insurance and warranty scheme needs to be compulsory for it to work."

Goff is also calling for a "centralised and mandatory product register to certify that building products are fit for purpose", saying it's "absurd" the existing 69 different councils have to certify products individually, resulting in duplication costs and inconsistency.

He said present building standards are also too low.

"Higher standards for insulation, ventilation, and efficient heating and lighting systems for new houses would cut energy use, reduce carbon emissions, ensure better health and wellbeing, and cut heating costs.

"We welcome the Government's move finally to reform the Building Act and code, but in these and other areas, it needs to go further than what is included in its discussion paper and to act with a greater sense of urgency."



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