• Grant

The Minimum Standard

Part of my reasoning that the current situation we find ourselves in is sooooooooo ridiculous, revolves around the a feel-good statement that keeps getting quoted to me again and again, and that is advertised as positive attribute in most of the new housing being built and sold in this country lately. It seems that it is all fine in our perfect little world of NZ and in the building industry as long as all buildings we legislate, design, build and sell to Joe - public, meet the “New Zealand Building Code”.

For those who don’t know, the New Zealand Building Code is the minimum standard for a new building in New Zealand. Just read that again slowly….”the…..min…i…mum…standard”!

When have you ever heard such a ridiculous statement spun as the best thing to have?

Or even more confusing to me, it seems this spin is so successful, that those who want to achieve greater things are just said to be wasting money or worse, wasting the money of their clients! (Yes, OK this one is a sore point - alright!), if they aspire to achieve something better!

Seriously though, if you are buying a new car, or even more relevant new brake parts for your existing car, do you buy the best solution for your car and the safety of your family, or the parts that “meets minimum standard”?

Another example, If you are flying away on a holiday or taking a cruise on an ocean liner, do you choose the airline or shipping line for you and your family to travel on, that advertises – your travel experience and safety on this journey will meet “the minimum standard” required by law?

No of course not!

Yet, although none of these items cost anywhere near as a much as your new house, or will impact financially on you. Yet we seem to freely accept that “it meets the NZ Building Code” or “the minimum standard” is the best way to buy/design/build a new house in New Zealand. And yes we should be grateful, as they also all come with a mandatory 10 year warranty!

10 years? I can buy a car with a 10 year warranty/ 5 years of free maintenance and it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as a house. Yet it has more technology and more moving parts! WTF!

The true answer is stick to the basic fundamentals and buy the best basic fundamentals you can to build your new house. Use well-conceived and constructed design and detail, get the building built by qualified and talented “craftsmen” who stand behind their work and use only quality materials that will stand the test of time (and are guaranteed to do so). Forget the big screen TV, the ensuite floor to ceiling marble, the 33m Olympic swimming pool and all the other “extras” until you’ve got the basics covered properly. That’s the real answer.

Next time I’m giving up the rant, and focusing on how you and all of us can make our homes better, our lives better and the country's building stock better for generations to come (not just for 10 years). And no they don’t all involve coming to me for a new house design……………… although there is a thought?

Remember, Art for living! TaG

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