Presidents Address Oct 2015

by precastnz on October 15, 2015 · 0 comments


It has been a busy year for PCNZ

We have worked to improve our profile and recognition. This means we are much more likely to be first point of contact in relation to matters that affect our industry and to have our voice heard.

Protection of retentions  it has been a long battle to get provision for protection of retentions into the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill.

Although we had been pushing for improvements for years, what really got the government to acknowledge there was a problem that required a legislative solution was the Mainzeal collapse. (The NZ Herald reported 13 August that Dame Jenny Shipley and 4 other Mainzeal directors were being sued by the liquidators.)

The bill was going through its third reading in parliament in September

  • most of the amendments in the Bill will come into force on 1 December 2015;


  • the amendments applying the principal Act to contracts for related services will

come into force on 1 September 2016; and

  • the amendments relating to retentions will come into force on 31 March 2017.

This has involved working with the Specialist Trade Contractors Federation as well as making our own submissions and appearing before the select committee on the Bill.

In essence retentions will be deemed to belong to the person they are being held against, and will be held in trust. The actual detail of the working will depend on regulations yet to be enacted.

On financial matters, Voidable transactions or claw back of payments, Precast NZ provided financial support for an appeal to the Supreme Court to fight decisions enabling liquidators to claw back payments made up to 2 years prior to a contractor being placed into receivership. Obviously this was an untenable situation for construction industry subcontractors, and in the case of Mainzeal, they stood to lose not only all unpaid progress payments, all retentions being held on every job, but also having to pay back all progress payments received in the 2 years prior. Fortunately the appeal succeeded, avoiding considerable damage to subcontractors who had already taken a big hit.

Design Standards:  Precast NZ involvement on the committee drafting amendment 3 to NZS3101:2006. Concrete Design standard has been vital to ensure the use of precast concrete is not disadvantaged as a result of the recommendations of the Royal Commission and taking into account of the lessons learned from the Christchurch earthquake.  The response to many of the problems observed was understandably conservative, and design changes appropriate for high rise ductile frame buildings were not always appropriate for wider application.

University Research. Following the Christchurch earthquakes, a number of instances were identified where observed damage may not have been consistent with current knowledge,and further research was required to formulate appropriate design rules for our standards. Both the University of Canterbury and University of Auckland are involved in research projects and where they involve precast concrete Precast NZ and our individual members have provided support. This has included materials, time resources and money. Contributions by the individual members involved have far exceeded financial support from our subscriptions.

It is estimated that the association members have contributed around $250,000 of goods, services and finance over the past few years. This has benefited not only the precast industry, but also our wider concrete and construction industries and contributed to safer and more economical buildings.

Some of the recent research supported by Precast NZ is the subject of papers in this conference.

Canterbury University: Current projects include laboratory testing of sustainable, low loss and demountable precast frame buildings and low damage seismic design bridge details (Session 4 item 1).

Auckland University:  Supported testing of precast panel / foundation connections. Details on this will be covered in item 3 of session 2. Testing of precast floor connection details for incorporation into standards. Details will be presented session 3 item 3. Wall reinforcing limits will be covered in session 4 item 3

Support of these projects has been by supply of test components, advice on current and proposed details to ensure solutions are commercially realistic, supervision, and Precast NZ has provided some financial support including scholarships.

Approved Code of Practice for handling Transportation and Erection of precast Concrete, Rod Fulford will be reporting on this.

Curing of precast concrete.  A literature Research project was undertaken by engineering student through 2014/15 summer break. Our industry issue is the prescriptive and simplistic requirements for curing by NZS3109.  The objective was to gain a better understanding of how curing impacts physical properties of concrete, approaches by other standards internationally, with a view to promoting a more fitness for purpose approach to curing thus not wasting resource.

A recent specification has required ALL concrete to be wet cured for 14 days. We doubt the benefits would justify the costs to the client for much of the concrete on the project.

Rod Fulford will be reporting further on this

BCITO and other training. Obligations of employers to ensure employees have adequate and appropriate training will be strengthened in upcoming legislation. Precast NZ has initiated some of the concrete related training available through BCITO and supports training at all levels because of the real benefits it brings to our industry and our members.

Recent meetings with worksafe relating to the ACOP and the tragic consequences from the collapse of the panels at Hobsonville have identified training and lack of knowledge of requirements and regulations as a major shortcoming.

The total number of apprentices undergoing BCITO training in Concrete Core Skills, Structural precast, and Prestressing is 68 nationally. 36 or over half of them are in South Auckland. This is not good enough.

Following an accident, formal training or lack of, will be a significant factor in any H & S prosecution. Training must be considered an essential for all our members.

While on H & S, every executive meeting includes an item on sharing experiences relating to H & S so that we can learn from each other.

Producer Statements no longer have any legislative recognition, nevertheless they are still being requested and relied upon by various parties. Their wording varies, as do the expectations of those requesting them.

Precast NZ is currently in negotiation with Auckland Council to formalize policy on producer statements.

Producer statements from precast concrete manufacturers have limited ability to transfer responsibility from other parties and it is time the issue was clarified and standardized.

Plant Certification is gaining recognition with some specifications requiring supply of precast from Certified Plants. We also anticipate recognition of their status in issuing producer statements. There are currently 11 plants on the certified plant register with 2 more having made preliminary application.

Prison Precast Following years of effort at many levels, corrections seem to have disbanded their precast operations affecting Auckland. SERCO identified precast concrete as one possible activity for the Wiri facility so it is something we need to keep a watching brief on. PCNZ of course supports prisoner training, but does not support subsidized entry into the commercial market.


We are represented on the

Specialist Trade Contractors Federation, the body representing the interests of the subcontracting industry in NZ.

Through them we have representation on BRAC (Building Research Advisory Council), CSC (Construction Safety Council), CIC (Construction Industry Council), Canterbury Rebuild Group.

We are kept informed of issues that may be relevant to our industry or require action by us.

We have been able through them to get support for matters of concern to our members, such as claw back of payments referred to earlier.

They are maintaining involvement in implementation of BIM, Building Information Modeling. This involves a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building. Very early stages here in NZ but it could just be much the same as CAD 20 years ago. Now CAD is the norm. Through STCF we are keeping up with progress in implementation of BIM.

We were heavily involved in development of SA2009 the first combined industry subcontract agreement. That will require updating following passing of the Construction Contracts Bill and Master Builders have already approached STCF regarding this. Precast NZ expects to be represented on any revision.

CCANZ we have a representative on their board which means we have an input on decisions they may make that could affect our industry. CCANZ have also actively supported may issues and projects undertaken by PCNZ where it was thought their expertise would assist or their independence would add credibility.

CCANZ are maintaining a watch on issues relating to silica dust which will have a significant impact on our industry.

NPCAA National Precast Concrete Association of Australia. We have a combined meeting with them every second year and find the transfer of experience, ideas and access to their resources is valuable.

UK Precast we have reciprocal membership and that keeps us abreast of developments in UK & Europe.

Other activities are many and varied. We are asked to assist in contractual disputes involving precast concrete. We have been consulted by Worksafe on construction accidents involving precast. We support seminars that assist users of precast concrete.

These activities could not continue without the support of our Associate Members which is acknowledged and very much appreciated. Our activities benefit all involved in the precast concrete industry from manufacturers through to specifiers, designers, contractors, building owners. We also thank our members who may not be involved in our meetings and activities for their continuing financial support.

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