What is going on in the building industry?

There is something awry in the building industry.

First we have the concrete cancer issue that is slowing rotting away buildings like the new Manukau District Court building in Auckland.

Then only the other week we had concrete steel mesh being pulled from the market and investigations by the Commerce Commission and MBIE.

Then we heard frameless toughened glass balustrades are likely to be banned with Auckland Council pushing the government to fast-track a national building standard.

Now via the tip-line we have Winstone Wallboards placing a ‘precautionary temporary  hold’ on 13mm GIB Fyreline plasterboard and the BRANZ Appraisal #289 [2012] has been suspended.. Building product merchants have been asked to stop selling the product.

Surprisingly, MSM aren’t running the story.  

“For 13mm GIB Fyreline® that has already been installed in buildings under construction, work can continue and the specified performance will be achieved in a large number of situations, including:

– When it is not being used as part of a fire-rated system
– When it is used in a fire-rated system in place of 10mm/13mm GIB Standard® or 10mm GIB Fyreline®”

The interpretation on this is that provided that you haven’t used it you are possibly fine but can substitute with either GIB 13mm Braceline or GIB 13mm Noiseline.

Therefore a GIB 13mm Braceline or GIB 13mm Noiseline work better at passive fire control that their registered Fyreline product, go figure

Looks like the standards of products within the building industry are all over the shop.

But with Nick Smith as Building & Housing Minister, it was only a matter of time before a fiasco emerged under his watch.




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  • Seriously?

    Maybe I’m a bit gun-shy after the leaky home debacle, but stories like these make me pause to think about the calls to deregulate the building process in the search for haste (particularly in Auckland).

  • D-Rad

    How can Australians build, warmer (and cooler for the summer), safer, stronger, longer-lasting CHEAPER homes than we can? Labour isn’t cheaper, in fact it costs more, so its not that.

    • sheppy

      Presumably they don’t have to put up with phrases used by the many ticket clippers along the way such as:

      “it’s a small market”
      “designed for NZ conditions”
      “nothing to see here according to the commerce commission”

      which results in several differently named outlets selling the same products for the same price, that just happens to be way more than in Australia.

    • Dave

      having worked in the building industry on the supply side in both Aust and NZ, there are a LOT of primary differences.

      Firstly, NZ homes have a much stronger structure to cope with the high wind / snow / and earthquake stress loads. Typically, studs are much closer together, and roof trusses are far closer in NZ, our homes have much more bracing and so on.

      Secondly, the Aussie homes do not have the wet damp environment, so often the waterproofing is cheaper. Current insulation standards are also different, and as an example, we live in Nth Qld, we don’t need any heating!

      Thirdly, for a lot of homes, especially in the new estates, they can be building hundreds of homes in a row, meaning shared services, a local supply yard, tradies moving from one site to the one three doors down, its far more efficient. The designs tend to be more replicated than in NZ, where almost every home is a different design.

      • D-Rad

        We looked at building when we lived in Southern NSW. Yes, you buy off the plans sure. In the area we lived there are damp issues, we found a house that we lived in for 6 months when we first moved there to be very damp, there was mould under the carpet, you have to build the homes to withstand cold, eg temps were below 0 some mornings in Wagga Wagga, then in the 40s in summer, they are extremes. All houses tend to have ducted heating and A/C, older ones tend to have ducted A/C and a major heat source like a gas furnace.
        What you are correct in saying is that they build lots of homes at once, why don’t we do this here? Well you know what we are starting to. Look at Hobsonville. It is normal to buy off the plans in Aus, they want you to. The government incentives new home building. Here they put up red tape.

        • one for the road

          Such huge demand for houses off the plans at Hobsonville Point, every new release is sold out pretty much within weeks and then it will take 3-6 months before construction starts and upto 12 months to complete – the long timeline is a function of supply of trades and materials!!
          And they are group built like was mentioned above as happens in Aust, 10% deposit with the balance paid on settlement/CCC..

        • Dave

          Older homes, and south of Sydney, yes they can suffer damp, but unlikely north of Sydney.

          Also, disagree re incentives, but the local governments are good at releasing new land, and the councils make the biggest difference, which raises another point, the council compliance costs are far far cheaper over here, and once through council, an independent certifier can sign off all construction work, council does not need to look at the project. Saves time and money.

      • Bryan

        good clear answer so if winston had not won the northland bi elction thanks to labour, the RMA shakeup would have cut the RED tape in half and speedup the whole process. The other hidden thing is that probally half the nations builders have been in Christchurch for the last 4 years which means there have actually been less builders available in Auckland, we know by how many we have seen down here, and there is approx 500 new homes down here not sold and many are built ready to take families.

  • Sagacious Blonde

    Is there any modern building that is safe from water, rust, corrosion and now fire?
    Please keep hammering away. The vested interests at play here need all the sunlight that can be generated shone into their darkest corners.

  • rua kenana

    Seems the low cost houses being promised by the political parties must get built somehow. How else other than low cost materials, trying to force some landowners to sell their land cheaply, or importing “cheap labour” which also implies importing low-income families?
    The evolution of cut-price, and likely cut-quality building materials is not at all surprising.

  • 2rotorbro

    I have heard that there is a disaster looming around Albany/Fairview Heights/Pinehill housing developments with regard to the very poor workmanship that is being carried out & substandard inspections. It’s all getting whacked up in great haste and inspections are being signed off quick smart.

    • waldopepper

      yes i heard same. i heard that corners are being cut. an example i heard of was that slow drying concrete is deliberately being used on some driveways on some multi unit sites. the council visits, signs off on the reinforcing, the concrete is poured over it as he watches, and then once the council chappy has gone they pull the reinforcing up out of the still liquid concrete, hose it down and drop it in the next driveway frame, ready for the council inspector the following day. probably no safety issues as such, but you would a bit annoyed to be the driveway owner when it cracks in 5 years time due to no reinforcing wouldnt you.

      • one for the road

        Then the council should be sued for not inspecting when it is set like they are required to do!

        • Richard

          In 25 years of building, I have never heard of a post pour inspection to check driveway concrete.

      • Richard

        I can’t see this happening. Sounds like an urban myth to me. Sounds like a lot of hassle just to save on what is cheap reinforcing, when compared to all the extra effort to remove, untie and wash the reo then rescreed the concrete.

        • Uncle Bully

          I suppose it depends on how much you pay for your cheap imported labour though?

        • Paul Marsden

          I agree. I’d have to see it happening to believe it. But God forbid if true!

  • Bluemanning

    The word ‘appraisal’ leads me to question any approval validity.

  • Disinfectant

    Just moved into a brand new residence.

    Awful taste in the water. The water is being tainted by plastic pipes according to the water suppliers who have taken samples.

    • Uncle Bully

      Strange. I wonder where those pipes were made? Do you know the name of the developer by chance?

  • Keanne Lawrence

    The other question must be. What are the respective price points for the various flavours of Gib?