Department of Building and Housing

Meet the Department of Building and Housing, responsible for regulation and dispute resolution in New Zealand’s building and housing sector.

The brief
was to help the new Department to engage stakeholders in a robust contribution to the new Building Code and regulations.

Our approach was to work using Open Space Technology. Through a series of events and workshops in Auckland and Wellington, we invited people to talk together, this is the key feature of Open Space; an open invitation and a belief that those who have a stake in the process will participate. One of the challenging factors was that this all took place at a time when the building and housing sector was under a lot of pressure to strengthen public confidence in regulation and capability. At each workshop, approximately 150 participants gave their views, ideas and expectations about the buildings they live, work and play in. They represented interests including community housing groups, support services for families, older people and those with disabilities, community centres, ethnic, cultural and migrant communities, local authorities and building trade and industry organisations. While one of the difficulties in facilitating the events and workshops was managing complex and diverse perspectives, the reward is that with such wide and fulsome consultation there is real confidence that the foundations of the code are solid, and it should be; the best of New Zealand thinking has been invested in it.