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The Statutory Gambit
One of the most common areas of concern to manufacturing managers is the tiptoe through the statutory minefield. For a particular item of work, what laws are relevant, which standards appropriate, how do the local authorities fit in and when are permits necessary.

Even most of our lawmakers are not likely to understand the hidden details of all our laws.

This article endeavors to be a simple summary of the statutes and requirements that most frequently effect the manufacturing operation. Items of law and practice that effect business and engineering alterations are as follows:

Statutes (laws), NZ Standards, International standards, Local body ordinances, Codes of Practice with the typical impact of each of these as follows:

Statutes
The New Zealand Government has at various times passed statutes and laws that directly affect the manufacturing operation.
It is the responsibility of all corporate citizens to comply with these laws with the main statutes that effect the Manufacturing operation as follows:
  • New Zealand Building Act 1991
    (Compliance with this is required for any changes to civil/structural or buildingalterations to Plant and Buildings, main compliance in form of Building codes)
    Building permits are issued and required under this Act
  • Health, Safety and Employment Act
    (Employers are responsible for the Health and Safety of Employees within the workplace. This was one of the first introductions of "Strict Liability" concepts into New Zealand law as opposed to the onus on the complainant to prove "negligence" on behalf of the employer, ie: Employers are typically strictly liable with significant penalties in the cases of blatant contravention of the Act. Strict liability is common in United States law)
  • Resource Management Act
    Many uses of resources including land, air, water and waste require a Resource Management consent. Changes to existing consents may sometimes be gained directly through the local authority. However if the Resource consent needs to be notified this can cause a significant delay to the manufacturer.
With the above being main statutes that impact all business the Electricity Regulations 1993, the Dangerous Goods regulations, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries regulations, Health and Food regulations and many other statutes also impact specific sectors of industry.

Local Body Ordinances
Under the Local Government Acts the local authorities are able to issue specific requirements in addition to the national statutory requirements. These requirements typically concern items such as allowable noise, glare, carparks, fence heights, etc. These differ between local authorities and also need to be considered where capital alterations are evident.

Standards
There are a large number of international and local standards available of differing degrees of use and local acceptances. The New Zealand Building Act and its accompanying Code mentions standards that are acceptable when constructing or altering business premises.
In general standards are developed by the Standards body and a team of 'industry experts' to define a consistent and proven methodology to solving specific tasks.
Most business and engineering tasks are well advised to follow accepted standards unless some a real benefit is perceived by a new design method. Items that require local authority permits typically insist on compliance with recognised standards.

Standard Authorities that are commonly used within New Zealand include:
New Zealand Standards, Standards Australia, British Standards, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), etc
The Standards Association of New Zealand (SANZ) has information on a wide variety of standards.

Codes of Practice
A variety of Industry Authorities have developed a range of Codes of Practice that need to be adhered to for particular industries and functions. Specific Codes that are found in New Zealand Industry include:

Electrical: Electrical Code of Practice (ECP)(cf Ministry of Commerce)
Agriculture and Fisheries: MQM (meat) and IAIS (fish) in association with MAF
Dairy: NZCP6 for Dairy premises and equipment
ASHRAE: American Heating and Ventilation Codes of Practice


Conclusion
Happy hunting for the statutes and codes that refer to the task at hand, but like all good rules there are always exceptions.
Glyde Industrial Limited Tel: (0800) 85 4444
Glyde are a team of Industrial Engineering specialists with advanced business training and expertise.
All comments made are opinion only and should not be used without the written permission from Glyde.
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