Australasia's home for timber news and information

NZ has a plan for timber first

Government agencies are getting new support to reduce carbon emissions generated by construction of new buildings, with the release of practical guidance to shape decisions on public projects in New Zealand. Source: Timberbiz

New Zealand’s Ministers for Building and Construction and for Economic Development say a new Procurement Guide will help government agencies, private sector suppliers, designers, and construction and industry representatives to make the right decisions.

“I encourage the wider building and construction industry to use the new Procurement Guide issued by MBIE, to get a practical understanding about the way to approach tenders for public projects,” said Minister Poto Williams.

“A number of private sector and industry groups have contributed to the development of the Procurement Guide, and while it is not designed to be a technical document it does give helpful guidance to support the transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

“This approach is consistent with the goals of the Construction Sector Accord and is also aligned with the aims of the Building for Climate Change programme, to lower emissions in the construction sector and prepare buildings for the future effects of climate change,” she said.

“I have long been a champion of greater use of low-carbon materials like timber in building and construction projects and want that embedded in decision-making and design thinking across the wider public sector,” said Minister Stuart Nash.

“Agencies that are required to apply Government Procurement Rules must now apply the Procurement Guide to decisions about new buildings with an estimated value of $9 million or over.

“Government agencies must now clearly record decisions about the way they choose design options. If they choose a design that is not the lowest possible carbon option to meet their project brief, they must identify the reason for this, and have the decision signed off by their Chief Executive.

“This new Procurement Guide reflects the government’s goal to transition to a carbon neutral public service. The procurement practices of public service agencies have the power to influence decisions by private and community sectors when it comes to carbon-neutral and low-emission technologies.

“It is also in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission’s final report issued last week. The Commission has confirmed we are making good progress to reduce emissions, but a ‘step-up’ is now required.

“The transition to a low emissions future will create jobs and new opportunities for Kiwi businesses and signalling our direction now will provide business with certainty to invest in new technology or processes,” Mr Nash said.

Not everyone is buoyed by the new wood first policy, not surprisingly Nick Collins CEO of Metals New Zealand is not. He issued a long statement detailing why it was poor idea.

The Minister is surely aware of the issues of durability and fire that New Zealand’s Building Code provides guidance on to ensure safety in our building design and construction? Mr Collins asked.

He said that it was pity that there are no ministers for steel or concrete to temper the Forestry Minister’s gung-ho support for his material of choice. Perhaps having a Minister for Manufacturing would deliver a better outcome for the nation’s building stock and climate emissions, with an ability to make objective decisions that support our transition to a low-carbon and circular economy future Mr Collins said.

The Guide to Reducing Carbon Emissions in Building and Construction is available here: