Jan 18, 2018 - Our future selves might look back and wonder how we ever handled having just plain old glass in our windows. Curtains or blinds might get the flick in favor of a variety of smart windows that can tint themselves or turn opaque on command, and now a team of German engineers has demonstrated a new design. Dubbed Large-Area Fluidic Windows (LaWin), the system uses iron particles suspended in liquid to block sunlight at different levels and harvest heat energy from the Sun.
Dec 22, 2017 - Changes have been made to the $4.5million Unreinforced Masonry Building Securing Fund (URM Fund) in response to constraints building owners were facing while attempting to secure buildings. “Changes to the initiative will increase the flexibility of the URM Fund and allow it to be used for more activities,” says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa.
“I am also seeking to extend the time before penalties are applied and I’ll make a further announcement about this and seek feedback on potential changes in the New Year.”
From mid-February 2018, building owners will be able to apply for:
up to $25,000 to secure either a single parapet or façade, or both (instead of $10,000 for a parapet and $15,000 for a façade) funding for work to remove non-heritage unreinforced masonry parapets and facades raising the funding cap to secure large and complex unreinforced masonry buildings.
Building owners can also apply to MBIE for funding towards the cost of an engineering assessment as soon as they receive an invoice from their engineer, rather than once all work has been completed.
The Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) Order 2017 was introduced in February 2017 in response to heightened earthquake risk following the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes.
Earlier this year councils in affected areas identified buildings with unreinforced masonry elements that need to be secured to manage life safety risks. Building owners with unreinforced masonry parapets and facades that face into busy thoroughfares in Wellington, Hutt City, Blenheim and Hurunui were given a year (through to March 2018) to get this securing work done.
At that time, heightened seismic risk was expected to continue until December 2017. Updated forecasting shows that the heightened risk is still present, and is expected to continue for at least another six months. Securing work remains the most effective means of managing the life safety risks during this period.
While the affected councils and engineers have actively supported building owners to get the necessary work done, engineering and contracting capacity is stretched, and some buildings are larger and/or more complex to secure than anticipated.
“There can be no doubt we need to get this work done quickly, to ensure we are meeting our safety requirements, however these amendments respond to the practical constraints building owners and councils are facing. We are looking to give building owners more support to get this vital work done,” says Ms Salesa.
Dec 21, 2017 - Construction is one of New Zealand’s biggest industries and predicted to grow for some time to come. Large and increasingly sophisticated building projects need well trained and qualified staff to run smoothly and efficiently - or risk costly mistakes. Ara Institute of Canterbury has responded to this increasing complexity in the construction sector by launching new qualifications that prepare graduates with the critical thinking skills and initiative to lead the way as construction managers and quantity surveyors.
Programme Leader at Ara Keith Power has many years of experience in quantity surveying and in teaching. “The construction industry told us this is what they need,” he said. “Construction is changing very rapidly with new technology and systems. Construction companies are increasing their productivity on increasingly complex jobs. Staff need to be better equipped for the future.”
“Most of the construction company employers, and a lot of their staff, have passed through Ara or its predecessor CPIT. We are trusted to train quantity surveyors and construction managers for the realities of the construction industry. Running a building site, or managing the cost of a project, means dealing with the materials, staff, sub-contractors and technology – it is increasingly innovative, and there are new ways of setting projects up from the very start. Our qualifications take graduates a step further to really future proof their work with courses such as advanced contracting and law, cost planning and BIM (Building Information Modelling), property development, plus elective choices that allow students to choose the specialised areas they would like to explore.”
The new qualifications are flexible to allow for part time study while working by using a blended delivery approach with online learning and two-day block courses. Full time study is also available using work-integrated industry placements to provide students with experience in an industry setting.
Ara will continue to offer the New Zealand Diploma in Construction and Power expects many diploma graduates to upgrade to the degree. Those qualified in other areas, such as civil engineering, can enrol in the graduate diploma to move into specialising in CM or QS.
It worth investing in upskilling, he says. “There are excellent employment prospects in QS and CM. The construction industry has moved on from the boom and bust, cyclical nature of the past, to steadier workflows forecast for the future.”
For more information go to www.ara.ac.nz or phone 0800 24 24 76.
Dec 18, 2017 - The Government is making it easier for people to understand and apply best practice when designing and constructing buildings. By launching a new building system search engine and sponsoring five commonly used building standards and a handbook, we hope to see improved compliance with the Building Code, and even more importantly, safer homes and buildings, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa.
“The online search engine, Building CodeHub helps people locate the latest building rules and guidance information for designing and constructing buildings,” says Ms Salesa. “It’s the definitive source of up-to-date rules and guidance from a range of sources.”
“New Zealand’s building regulator the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), has sponsored some of the most commonly-used standards, making them freely available to all users,” says Ms Salesa.
“We anticipate that providing free access to these standards, will make it easier for consumers to understand the building code requirements and apply best practice methods when undertaking home building projects.”
The sponsored standards and handbook, which can be accessed from the Standards New Zealand website, are:
yDesign for access and mobility: Buildings and associated facilities (NZS 4121:2001) - provides solutions for making buildings and facilities accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
Housing, alterations and small buildings contract (NZS 3902:2004) - a plain English standard building contract.
Thermal insulation - housing and small buildings (NZS 4218:2009) - helps establish the levels of thermal insulation for houses and small buildings.
Interconnected smoke alarms for houses (NZS 4514:2009) - provides information about the placement and audibility of smoke alarms.
Safety barriers and fences around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs (NZS 8500:2006) - describes barriers for residential pools including ways to assess their strength.
Handbook on Timber-framed buildings (selected extracts from NZS 3604:2011) - figures and tables to help design and construct timber-framed buildings up to three storeys high.
“MBIE will continue to make the building system more accessible with further enhancements to Building CodeHub and considering ways to improve access to more design and construction building standards,” says Ms Salesa.
Dec 15, 2017 - A multimillion dollar project to double the size of the terminal at Napier Airport is ready for take-off, with the lead construction contract going to Auckland-based Arrow International.
Arrow, which has previously carried out construction projects at other New Zealand airports, will begin stage 1 construction of the $14m expansion and redevelopment early in the new year.
Speaking at Napier Airport yesterday, Hawke's Bay Airport acting chief executive Jeanette Yule said Arrow International had a strong local track record completing construction projects, including with ABB in Napier.
"They have put together a great team of local sub-contractors for this project and we have every confidence that the new look terminal will be fully operational by the last quarter of 2019."
Dec 1, 2017 - Kia ora tatou. Good morning. Thank you to the Salvation Army for giving me the opportunity to be with you here today.
I want to acknowledge the housing NGOs, the activists, campaigners and community organisers, including the Living Wage Movement, for the work you do in our communities fighting for social justice.
This is my first opportunity to set out the direction of our housing policy, since being sworn in as Minister in our new Labour-NZ First Coalition Government supported by the Greens.
I am going to talk about the future of state housing, and the fight against homelessness.
My starting point is the importance of a home.
When people are homeless it strips them of their dignity and hope.
When families move from place to place because they cannot find somewhere to settle, it takes a terrible toll on them, especially the kids.
When people find no alternative to living in cold damp rentals the inevitable sickness shortens their lives.
When housing costs are so high, there isn’t enough to spend on healthy food or pay the power bill.
When home ownership is out of reach people are denied the opportunity build an asset and build themselves up.
The housing crisis is quite unacceptable for any New Zealander.
It offends the sense of fairness and opportunity for all our country was built on.
We have a broad housing reform agenda and we are already taking the first crucial steps towards fixing the crisis.
Central to that agenda is a reassertion of the role of state housing.
We are going to put the state back into state housing.
Our Government rejects the view that state housing is a redundant idea from the 1930s and that modernisation means selling off the houses and getting charities and the private sector to do this work instead.
Given the state of the housing market right now, it should be clear to anyone that state housing – decent, secure, income-related rental housing for the people that need it most – is needed more than ever.
Our Government will not milk Housing NZ for profits. We will reinvest any surpluses back into the building of new homes and upgrading existing ones.
We will stop the mass sell-off of state housing, and as part of our 1st 100 Days, the Prime Minister will have more to say on this shortly.
I want Housing NZ to be a world class public housing landlord:
putting a warm dry and secure roof over the heads of Kiwis who need it Playing a pastoral care role enabling tenants to have access to the support they need to sustain their tenancies and live with dignity
Housing NZ are up for this challenge, and we are working together on how to make it happen.
I have started a conversation with Housing NZ on how we can build back the tenancy management, giving better face to face engagement with tenants based on an ongoing relationship.
There is much to do. One small thing is the policy on tenants owning pets.
Given how important pets can be to people’s quality of life I favour a more accommodating approach that allows tenants to own pets – as long as they are properly looked after, not a nuisance or a danger to neighbours, and not damaging property.
We are also committed to working closely with the Community Housing Providers so they too can do more and do better.
I have never accepted there is a contradiction between a strong government provider and a vibrant and growing community sector.
I want to re-iterate my commitment to sit down with Community Housing Aotearoa and negotiate a multi-year plan for how we can work together to grow the sector in a way that is both ambitious and sustainable.
My vision is not for some quasi-market where community housing organisations are competing for subsidies, but instead a community of housing providers and advocates working in partnership with government, and where we can all benefit from the innovation and diversity the community sector brings.
We are going to build a lot of houses.
And we are going to build whole communities.
I want those communities to benefit from the range of housing types, tenures, price brackets and services that the community housing providers can deliver – and that the Government and private sector often struggle with.
The other big issue I want to address is homelessness.
While there is something deeply unsettling about our country’s current inability to house its own people, I do take courage from what I believe is a widespread view that the current situation is intolerable and has to be fixed.
I am also confident the policy responses are all there on the table. The Cross Party Inquiry on Homelessness run last year by Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party flushed them all out.
The early signs from the agencies working on Housing First are very encouraging, and build on significant evidence from overseas that this is a very good response to chronic homelessness, and is ready to be extended.
We are to looking to complete the roll out of emergency and transitional housing places around the country.
I don’t want to see people living in cars and in campgrounds.
And it not satisfactory for the taxpayer to be shelling out $90,000 a day on motels.
We need immediate solutions.
But I am mindful of advocates who told our cross party inquiry that we shouldn’t just build up the infrastructure of emergency housing.
They told us the best and most enduring solution is simply to build more houses.
Working through those trade-offs, and getting the right mix of targeted services and building more state and community homes is the task at hand.
Finally on homelessness, we remain committed to developing a NZ Strategy to End Homelessness and we will work with the sector on that.
I have talked about public housing, and our response to homelessness.
But we have a much bigger broader reform agenda that is needed to fix the housing market at a systemic level.
Through Kiwibuild we are going to build 100,000 affordable homes for first home buyers, half of them in Auckland.
We are going to set up the Housing Commission, a national urban development authority that will lead large-scale projects to build whole communities, with the jobs, and transport infrastructure and open spaces and amenities that communities need. Along with the housing types that people need at costs they can afford.
These communities will have a mix of state and community housing, affordable Kiwibuild homes for first home buyers, and open market homes.
One of the big differences between our Government and the last is that we are going to build affordable homes, and public housing, wherever we possibly can.
Because if we don’t, who will?
We are closing the door on speculators. We are introducing legislation in our first 100 Days so that only citizens and permanent residents can buy existing homes. We are pushing the bright line test out to five years so if a speculator sells a rental property within five years they will pay income tax on the capital gain.
We will also shut down the negative gearing tax breaks that give speculators an unfair advantage over first home buyers.
And our Tax Working Group is being asked to design tax reforms that will tilt the playing field away from real estate speculation and towards the productive economy that creates jobs and exports.
Yesterday we passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill that will set minimum standards to make sure rental properties and warm and dry. Backed up by a beefed up compliance capacity within the Ministry that will see risk-based auditing and investigations.
Next year we are going to review the Residential Tenancies Act to deliver more security of tenure for renters. Because well over a third of us renting these days we cannot continue with the current outdated law.
All this is supported by what I call our Urban Growth Agenda. It is a set of reforms designed to allow our cities to make room for growth, and bring down the high cost of urban land that is at the heart of these problems.
I know this is an ambitious agenda. But the scale of the crisis demands ambition.
I draw my inspiration from the First Labour Government who came to office after Depression and war determined to use the power of the state for good.
To intervene where necessary to make the system work for working people.
They redefined the role of Government. They made things happen by sheer force of will, and they built a lot of bloody houses.
The Sixth Labour Government’s housing reform agenda is also about nation building.
It recognises we have a crisis, and is bold and broad in response. It has the courage to tackle deeply entrenched problems that have been allowed to fester for too long.
It redefines the role of the state, and gets it back into the business of mass home building.
It will tame the out of control speculation that has been so destructive, and modernise rental laws.
In building 100,000 houses, re-inventing state housing, and building dozens of thriving modern communities around New Zealand, it will change the face of our towns and cities.
It will create the conditions for our people to thrive.
Once implemented it will amount to the biggest overhaul of housing policy since the time of the First Labour Government.
Our belief is that it is the role of Government to do the things that we can do together as a country, to ensure people have the basics: affordable secure warm and dry housing, decent work, good health and education systems.
With those things looked after people can then can get ahead in life through their own hard work and talents.
Without that platform, there is no fairness and no equality of opportunity.
Modern governments spend so much time dealing with social problems that are in large part caused or made worse by the poverty and lack of hope and distress associated with insecure housing and insecure work.
If we can restore universal access to secure, warm and dry and affordable housing for all New Zealanders, we will make this country even better than it is.
Nov 30, 2017 - Engineering New Zealand Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene says everything her organisation has done to raise the bar for engineers has been in the shadow of this tragedy. “Today our first thoughts are for those who lost loved ones in the CTV building. We are very aware of the families’ ongoing grief. “We know that the public wants better ways of holding engineers accountable. We’ve changed our rules so that a member can’t resign to avoid a complaint, and we’ve overhauled our complaints process.
“Last year we introduced a new Code of Ethical Conduct that sets new expectations for engineers.
“Engineers now have an obligation to report potential adverse consequences for people’s health and safety. This means that they must take action if they see something of concern.
“For example, if they see potential design flaws in a building under construction, or poor construction practices that threaten health and safety.
“And if an engineer suspects another engineer has significantly breached the Code, they must report this.
“On 1 October, Engineering New Zealand introduced a new membership pathway for our 20,000 members. All members must now pledge every year to uphold the Code of Ethical Conduct and commit to ongoing professional development.
“We have strengthened the Chartered Professional Engineer assessment process for structural engineers to include more specific and targeted assessment.
“But we would like to see changes to the way engineers are regulated. Engineering New Zealand supports the task-based licencing of engineers for safety-critical work. This means restricting safety-critical design to engineers specifically licensed to do this work.
“As well as structural engineering, we’d like to see this kind of regulation extend to any safety-critical work; for example, fire, geotechnical and food-process engineering.
| Background: Complaints relating to the CTV building tragedy
We received complaints about David Harding from MBIE’s Chief Engineer and a group of victims’ families.
Our Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Harding had breached our Code of Ethics.
Towards the end of this process, he resigned.
Because he was no longer a member, the Disciplinary Committee had no power to make any orders against him, but we made the decision against him public.
We received complaints about Alan Reay from MBIE’s Chief Engineer and a group of victims’ families.
Dr Reay resigned as a member in February 2014, while the complaints process was underway.
The timing of his resignation meant we no longer had jurisdiction over Dr Reay. So the complaints process was stopped.
In March 2015, the Government sought a judicial review of our decision to stop the complaints process. The judicial review is ongoing and a date for the substantive hearing hasn’t been set. In the meantime, we have changed our rules so that a member can’t resign to avoid a complaints process.
| An Engineering New Zealand release || November 30, 2017 |||
Nov 30, 2017 - Pipeline technology specialist, STATS Group (STATS), has formalised an agency agreement with OSD Pty Limited, New Zealand’s largest independent pipeline service company. OSD is a leading engineering, operations and commercial services provider to the oil and gas, pipelines and facilities, process, refining, water and hydro-transport sectors.
Kintore-based STATS Group specialises in the provision of pipeline isolation, repair and integrity services, including the design, supply and provision of specialised test, intervention and isolation tools, to the international oil and gas industry.
The agreement follows recent collaboration between the two companies in which STATS have completed three pressurised pipeline isolation projects for major operators in New Zealand on behalf of OSD, allowing for the safe replacement and installation of valves.
The deal has the potential to significantly increase exposure of STATS’s patented pipeline isolation technologies in the southern hemisphere and will complement recent growth in the Asian and Chinese markets.
STATS DNV GL type approved isolation tools provide fail-safe double block and bleed isolation allowing sections of pipework to be vented, creating safe worksite conditions for repair and maintenance to be carried out, often without affecting production.
STATS Group regional sales manager for Asia Pacific, Gareth Campbell, said: “This is an ideal partnership for STATS which opens up new markets and provides opportunities to showcase our expertise in pipeline isolation, hot-tapping and valve replacement services.
“We share the same ethos as OSD in seeking to offer world-class engineering across the asset lifecycle, with a focus on technical and commercial innovation. This alliance has enjoyed an excellent start with three successful isolation projects in New Zealand and we believe our joint capabilities offer a compelling proposition for operators in the New Zealand pipeline sector.”
OSD’s general manager, New Zealand, Shane Hamnett, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce this partnership with STATS as it further supports our drive for excellence in providing world class engineering, technical and innovative solutions to industries toughest challenges.
“Jointly, our outstanding relationship and organisational alignment provides a unique opportunity for pipeline operators to efficiently implement solutions that improve the overall operations, maintenance and growth activities across their asset base.”
Nov 30, 2017 - A major tourist attraction that will include a cable car, toboggan rides, zip wire, as well as a restaurant and event venue on Kilvey Hill in Swansea has taken a step forward. Board directors of New Zealand-based Skyline Enterprises have given the green light for the company to start the detailed design process and begin legal discussions for the attraction the will overlook Swansea Bay.
Representatives from Skyline Enterprises will now work with Swansea Council to move the deal forward and get it approved.
Once an agreement is in place, Skyline Enterprises will start working towards its planning application.
Should the scheme go ahead it will be funded entirely by private money, with no funding required from taxpayers.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Major Projects, said: "This is great news for Swansea, for Swansea's tourism industry and for Wales.
"Thanks to a 'Team Swansea' approach and the backing of a number of local businesses who have been supportive of the Skyline proposal, we were able to convey to Skyline Enterprises our enthusiastic support for the scheme during their recent visit.
"This decision is a great vote of confidence in Swansea as a tourist destination and builds on the great work being done through the City Deal and our bid to be the UK's City of Culture in 2021."
Skyline Enterprises already runs two resorts which feature cable car rides and other attractions in New Zealand, as well as luge rides in Canada, South Korea and Singapore.
The cable car attraction set for Swansea would be the company's first outside New Zealand.
Representatives of the company have been to Swansea twice in recent months to check out the potential of Kilvey Hill as a tourism hotspot capable of attracting tens of thousands of visitors a year.
The latest visit included meetings with Swansea Council and major local businesses at the Liberty Stadium to advance Swansea's case for the attraction, which would further build on plans to regenerate the River Tawe corridor.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "Kilvey Hill, standing 193 metres tall, enjoys spectacular views over Swansea Bay, the marina, SA1, the Liberty Stadium and the historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site.
“It's been an underused resource, and has huge potential to be transformed into a fun visitor destination for local people and hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
"We were determined to do all we could to help bring this project to Swansea because it would also attract additional investment and benefit local businesses by generating more spending and supply chain opportunities."
Geoff McDonald, Skyline Enterprises chief executive, said: "Skyline Enterprises is very excited about the potential opportunity to partner with the Swansea community to create what we believe will be a significant and vibrant attraction for the area.
“We are encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest in our gondola and luge operation, and look forward to on-going discussions."
The cable car attraction would add to the work Swansea Council and Swansea University are continuing to do to breathe new life into the historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site.
With support from the Welsh Government, Cadw and European funds, progress on site has included clearing vegetation, stabilising buildings at risk, improving access for visitors, community archaeology fieldwork, new pathways, an audio-visual trail and new information panels.
Nov 29, 2017 - When Casey Aranui went looking for work experience for her EIT trades training programme, she was knocked back by a dozen builders. The reasons she was given, she says, were about gender, but the determined 32-year-old wasn’t about to be deterred and her perseverance has paid off.
Graham Scarfe Builder Ltd offered Casey the opportunity she was looking for, and now, working full-time for the company, she is on track to securing a carpentry apprenticeship.
EIT tutor Tom Hay says Casey wasn’t the norm for a Level 3 New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) student, the norm being “a young fellow just out of high school”. However, she was one of four women on the programme – which has intakes in February and July – and Tom says the local building industry needs more female role models like her.
Living in Taradale, Casey and husband Reese have four children aged between two to seven. The Ngāti Kahungunu couple have a plan for getting ahead and it was with that in mind that they both enrolled at EIT.Reese recently completed the first year of the Level 6 Diploma in Architectural Technology and once he gains his qualification he wants to work at a job that will allow him to give back to his community.
Managing the demands of family life, Casey notched up a good attendance record at EIT. And while on work experience she tackled some hard physical jobs including jack-hammering out concrete. “She’s really determined,” Tom says and Graham Scarfe, whose family company employs 25 staff, agrees. “She’s going to be a top apprentice,” Graham enthuses. “She has got a hard road to achieve that and she’s going to do it.”
Like Casey, he’s picked up on outdated attitudes towards women working on construction sites and says there’s no need for it – from builders or from clients.
While Casey found that mind-set disheartening, she says she had no option other than to succeed. “We have four kids at home and a mortgage, bailing wasn’t an option.”
Like Reese, Casey likes to give back to the community. With Tom’s guidance and using offcuts from the trades programme, she and a friend recently built a rabbit hutch for the kōhanga reo on Waiohiki marae. Outside of work, she enjoys time with whānau and keeps active with boxing, cycling, Iron Māori and waka ama.