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Guidance on supervision

A complaint about the level of supervision carried out by a licensed building practitioner has led to some useful new guidance for builders.

Supervision by an LBP on a building site involves overseeing and controlling or directing the work to make sure that it is done competently and complies with the building consent (where a consent is required).

A complaint made to the Building Practitioners Board about supervision has led to the Board writing a decision that gives useful guidance on the topic.

The decision makes it clear that:

  • The greater the complexity and riskiness in a job, the greater the level of supervision required.
  • Consider a worker’s level of care and attitude. This isn’t necessarily tied to their age or years on the job. It is possible that a thoughtful younger worker with a good eye for detail requires less time being supervised than an older worker who is slapdash and doesn’t read the plans.
  • Consider proven experience. Someone who has done a job expertly a number of times is likely to need less supervision than someone new to the task.
  • Look at the different parts of a job. The parts which are trickier to do will need more supervision than the parts that are easy.
  • In most cases, supervision requires you to be on site with the worker – you can’t give proper supervision from a distance. There is a strict limit to what you can achieve through phone calls etc.

It is best to be cautious at first until you have a clear understanding of the attitides, abilities and experience of the people you are supervising.

A PDF of the full complaint decision can be found here.

 

Green Property Summit 2017.

“Future Cities Post 2020” is the theme for the NZGBC/Property Council Green Property Summit 2017, to be held in Auckland on 29 March.

The keynote speaker is Dr John Keung, who has been the CEO of Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for the last decade.

There is also a strong lineup of local speakers.

Other activities organized in conjunction with the event include a guided tour of some key sustainable buildings in the Auckland CBD, arranged for the afternoon before the one-day summit.

You can find more information and register here.

 

New online PV calculator

A new online calculator tells consumers whether installing a photovoltaic (solar) system will be cost-effective for them.

The calculator sits on the EECA’s Energywise website. It takes into account factors such as geographic region, roof slope, current electricity use and the cost of a PV system. It then gives an estimate of the years it would take for the cost of a PV system to be repaid, and the earnings or losses that would be incurred from installing a system.

The new tool was created by the University of Canterbury’s EPECentre through the GREEN Grid research programme, which is funded by MBIE, Transpower and the EEA. The calculator uses data from NIWA (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) through its SolarView service.

The calculator is designed for typical New Zealand homes and is not applicable for commercial buildings or off-grid installations.

You can find the calculator here.

 

Efficiency, renewables keys to the future

Energy efficiency in houses and domestic PV generation take key roles in new energy policy briefs.

The University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability has released ten policy briefs from its Energy Cultures research. Our housing stock and how it can be improved takes a prominent place.

The policy briefs point out that change is required. Our greenhouse gas emissions are trending upwards and are already among the highest in the world on a per-capita basis. Changing the agricultural component of this is difficult, but the path for making a difference in our housing stock is clear.

Professor of Construction at Massey University, Robyn Phipps, says New Zealand lags behind many developed countries in energy efficiency. “A properly insulated home, with some thermal mass being warmed by correctly placed windows, will need almost no extra heating or cooling. Regrettably, many home designers turn to heat pumps rather than good design solutions.”

“Our energy standards are lower than many countries with even warmer climates.” She points out that we have fewer PV panels installed than some countries that receive much less sunshine than New Zealand.

The policy briefs point to research conducted at Oxford University in 2016 that showed PV panels around the world have become approximately 10 per cent cheaper each year since the 1980s, a trend that is likely to continue.

The falling costs are part of the reason behind the rapid growth in uptake of PV generation in New Zealand, with around 12,000 household installations to date. On a domestic level, this is the most popular form of renewable by far – only 47 households generate electricity with wind.