PHOTO: Plasterboard (file image) Photo: 123rf

Auckland Council is cutting back on red tape, approving many substituted building products on site to help get the industry through a plaster board supply crisis.

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It is also loaning out its building inspectors to other regions to help them speed things up too.

Fletcher Building’s GIB board dominates about 95 percent of the market, but demand is out outstripping supply and its having to ration product, leaving some housing projects unfinished and some builders struggling to stay afloat.

This week regulators and industry leaders met to come up with solutions.

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Auckland Council has already changed how it does things, cutting out the paper work needed to substitute GIB for a generic plasterboard instead.

Jeff Farenshon from the council’s regulatory services team told Checkpoint the majority of its standard plasterboard substitutions were being approved on site by the inspectors, with minor variations.

Standard plasterboard was not used for bracing or fire lining, or acoustics, which was found in about 80 percent of the houses, he added.

“Because of the current product shortages out there, not just GIB, we have started to increase the scope to help builders on site not delay their jobs. Where we can approve things on a lower risk scale we would give them a try.”


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About 90 percent of plans submitted for consent specify GIB rather than generic plasterboard, he said.

Five or six plasterboards have been approved by regulators and a list submitted list to councils.

“We’ve actually provided this feedback back to MB as part of their process change… maybe the last six months we’ve seen products being substituted in this manner,” he said.

He said the changes to products were made because of what inspectors were seeing on building sites.

“We are looking at 40-to-50 requests a day for changed products on building sites across Auckland, out of the 800 inspections we’re doing a day… so we had to make a change in terms of our process to make it easier.”

Plywood, insulation and other products are included in the product substitutions due to supply chain issues.

“The vast majority have alternatives out there available in the market.


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