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Source: Auckland Council

Steel stalwart and Auckland Council employee Andrew Boyd is on a mission to implement a robust regulatory compliance process for the importation of structural steel into New Zealand.

“With around 98 per cent of our steel imported it can be bought very cheaply and that can have all kinds of risks,” he said.

For the past four years, the Building Consents Principal Project Lead has worked alongside industry partners Steel Construction NZ and the Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) to ensure only quality steel went into Auckland’s high-rise buildings.

Andrew said if the steel incorporated into building products did not meet design specifications the consequences were serious, with numerous examples of building performance failure – and in some overseas cases, lives lost.

“We needed to bring quality control requirements around steel into our regulatory compliance processes in a way that will ensure new buildings were safe but also in a way that wasn’t prohibitive for the industry.”

Part of those quality control checks included looking into steel mill accreditation and fabricator certification as well as a new 40-page steel compliance guide and decision tree flow chart.

“Our compliance pathway decision tree allows us to follow the steel right back to the raw materials, the steel recipe and exact batch and furnace used.”

To be able to give consent ahead of steel being imported so that we were confident it was the right quality and gave the building industry confidence to go ahead and import, he said.

“It’s about educating industry and regulators alike on the requirements and the benefits for all parties in following the robust approach we’ve developed.”

Chair of Regulatory Committee and councillor Linda Cooper praised the work Andrew and his team were doing.

“Andrew is playing a huge part in ensuring buildings in Auckland and New Zealand are built soundly and people are safe,” she said.

“As well as running local workshops for industry professionals and stakeholders, Andrew also supports Steel Construction New Zealand in presenting to other councils around the country.”

Cr Cooper said harsh lessons were learnt in post-earthquake Christchurch about poor quality construction steel.

“With this critical work we avoid those types of potential disasters.”

With decades of working on large construction projects in the Middle East, Andrew recently won the council’s Te Pou CEO award.

General Manager Building Consents Ian McCormick said the work Andrew is doing was “significant” and has created a nation-wide change for the better.”

“It’s very hard to fix a building if we subsequently find there is something wrong with key load-bearing steel components of the structure.

“It’s been a shining example of a collaborative approach – within the council and consultation and collaboration with the building and steel fabrication industries. I’m extremely proud of what Andrew has achieved.”

As well as working on reviewing regulatory compliance processes for non-standard construction projects, Andrew will continue to advocate for better consent processes.

“I want to make sure steel compliance is always a talking point.”

MIL OSI