Call for a national building products catalogue


The Commerce Commission is recommending the establishment of a centralised digital national key products registry to increase trust and confidence in residential building supplies

A national products register would act as the primary reference source for information about building products, including the information that will be required to be disclosed as a result of the building law reforms, the Commerce Commission says.

“This could make it easier for designers, builders and BCAs to find information about available building products, potentially reducing the barriers to use of different building products.

“Despite the Government previously discarding the concept of a national products register, some aggregation or coordination of available building product databases should be considered, especially as the new legislative requirement is likely to stimulate the development of more information.

“We consider that it may be appropriate for MBIE, as the responsible policy agency, to specify the way it operates to ensure unbiased and reliable information. However, there may be scope to contract out the construction and administration functions.”

The Commission’s preliminary view is that there would be benefit in introducing some form of centrally operated national products register that:
• encourages, enables and incentivises the sharing of information about new or innovative building products and methods;
• includes links to Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods; and
• enables sharing of information about new or innovative key building supplies, where BCAs have approved them for use in Alternative Solutions and any difficulties which have been encountered in the use of these building supplies in consented projects.

GS1 New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Stevens says research conducted by the group in 2020, funded by the Building Levy via the Building Research Association of NZ (BRANZ), made this recommendation and the linkage to increased productivity across the building sector supply chains.

“Earlier BRANZ research found that a lack of trusted digital product assurance data was a factor contributing to the use of nonconforming products in construction projects with costs of approximately $232 million per year arising from product failures.

“The research estimated that only a 6% reduction in the use of non-compliant products through making better product assurance information widely available would cover the investment required.”

Stevens says what the Commerce Commission is recommending is commonplace in other sectors including food & grocery and healthcare where products are globally and uniquely identified and structured data about these products is shared between trading partners and to regulators.

“Soon to be published research indicates that 94% of building sector participants do not have the product data in a format that meets their purposes and the majority support any registry to be a joint public-private partnership.”

Building Industry Federation Julien Leys says the industry strongly supports the establishment of a centralised national product catalogue to facilitate innovation, improve, trust, reliability and productivity across the wider building sector.