By NZHJ July 20, 2018 Building Materials

With reviews in place into putting CodeMark right and establishing a more robust product assurance regime, things have moved on since MBIE's Deloitte report...

Radio NZ yesterday morning publicly outed the content of the MBIE-commissioned Deloitte report on the CodeMark scheme that was submitted in June 2017 and has been the subject of much discussion around the industry ever since.

The Deloitte report is critical of the CodeMark scheme which was meant to be a cornerstone of more assured and faster builds - after all, it's meant to be an "unchallengeable form of product assurance" and "an easily-understood and robust way to show a building product meets the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code"...

But much has moved on since the Deloitte report was submitted in mid-2017 so let's just recap on what is already happening in the product compliance and assurance space.

For a start it's important to recall that in terms of CodeMark, MBIE already has in train what it calls "a significant work programme ... focused on ensuring [that] roles, responsibilities and reporting requirements across the CodeMark Scheme are clear; and that accreditation of Product Certification Bodies, product certification, and product certificate requirements is fit for purpose".

MBIE says the aim of the CodeMark review is to ensure it is fit to be "trusted by those who consent buildings" (BCAs etc - a group which showed the least trust in CodeMark, according to the Deloitte report) and that the suppliers and makers of product also have confidence in the voluntary scheme.

Separate from the CodeMark review (but not perhaps unrelated!) is another MBIE review of the wider building products assurance and regulatory system space.

Bruce Kohn, Chief Executive of the Building Industry Federation (BIF) says of the situation:

"The current review of the CodeMark scheme being undertaken by MBIE’s Building Systems Performance branch is both timely and much needed in view of the critical role that the scheme plays in the product assurance process.

"Production of CodeMark certification is supposed to be an assured route to consent approval from Building Consent Authorities under the system established by MBIE for the scheme’s operation.

"However an increasing tendency of BCAs to question the fitness for purpose of products covered by CodeMark suggests there are sufficient grounds to examine the rules under which the scheme operates.

"The scheme has now been in existence for about 10 years and in that time the market has expanded significantly in volume and diversity of sourcing.

"Pressures for surety in the validation that products comply with the Building Code are intense, not least because delays in the consenting process are significantly costly to building owners, builders and product suppliers."

Whereas the Deloitte report was pulled no punches about the aspects of the CodeMark scheme it found lacking, says Bruce Kohn, it was also "a spur to implementing the review".

"Already one certifier is in the market advocating changes to the rules and this underlines the urgency of the task MBIE has undertaken," he says pointedly.

In terms of product assurance, BIF is currently forming proposals to put to MBIE to help inform MBIE's review of that regulatory regime.

These proposals, believes Bruce Kohn: "will strengthen the regulatory environment without adding cost to the processes generally followed by our members."

We will bring you more as these two reviews proceed.

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