Building Product Recertification is causing rising costs in construction

Navigating Building Product Recertification Challenges in New Territories: Time for Change?

As seasoned industry professionals, we acknowledge that recertification of building products for new territories is an essential, not merely bureaucratic, process. It validates our products’ compliance with local building codes and standards. Depending on the product, evidence needed can range from technical data to independent evaluations, industry-based schemes, appraisals, or product certification.

The Puzzle of Recertification in Non-EU Countries

A puzzling trend warrants closer examination. Certain countries, particularly those outside the EU, insist on recertifying building industry products that have already passed rigorous testing and received approval from globally trusted certifying authorities. This recertification process is not just costly but can also deter companies seeking entry into new markets.

The Financial Implications of Recertification

The process often results in higher costs for the end consumer. In worst-case scenarios, prohibitive expenses discourage importers from introducing new products. This curtails competition, favoring larger corporations capable of bearing recertification costs.

Understanding New Zealand’s Recertification Requirements

In a dialogue with a New Zealand building product recertification representative, I learned that recertification is due to New Zealand’s unique conditions. However, this seems inadequate, especially considering Europe’s more extreme weather conditions.

Does the Issue Lie in Building Standards?

Could the issue be that New Zealand homes don’t comply with the same standards as Europe, requiring more robust and durable materials and products? If so, this would be a valid rationale. Perhaps we should focus more on enhancing our building standards, improving our trades training, or adopting better building systems.

The Misalignment Between Building Codes and Certification Requirements

It appears that building codes or standards may not align with certification requirements, leading to a situation where the tail wags the dog. Is it time for a paradigm shift?

The Case of Mass Timber Companies

Consider leading European CLT and Mass Timber companies like KLH. They had to redo fire tests for Australasia at great expense, despite already having rigorous testing and certification from top-tier European authorities. Wouldn’t it be more judicious to require certification only for uncertified products?

Building Product Recertification is causing rising costs in construction

Successful Fire Protection Testing of KLH® – CLT | LinkedIn (need to be logged in to to view)

The Risks of Accepting Certified Products

What are the risks of accepting certified products as just that – certified? Shouldn’t we be focusing on fixing our: outdated building codes and building practices, urban planning mistakes, funding and insurance challenges, misaligned immigration policies to housing supply, increasing manufacturing capability and market competition, and lack of infrastructure to new business and housing hubs outside of Auckland.

Driving Change in the Building Industry

It’s time we recognise the need for change in our industry. If we’re committed to reducing building costs, we must scrutinize all policies and eliminate barriers to market competition. We need to bolster local manufacturing and incentivize international companies to establish operations in more countries. This strategy will not only create better employment opportunities but also encourage existing manufacturers to elevate their standards and foster a more competitive environment.

Further Reading:

KLH – CLT, MAss Timber, Austria

KLH on the Build Review / Build Source