We can trace our roots back into the 1950s as the Building Research Bureau, an industry-owned information service. In the late 1960s, the building and construction sector and the Government discussed the setting up of BRANZ, and Parliament passed the Building Research Levy Act in 1969. The Building Research Association of New Zealand Inc worked as an industry partnership with Government, similar to other research associations operating at that time. The Association was gifted the assets of the Bureau, and received on behalf of the sector the levy collected in accordance with the Act for investment in the development of knowledge for, and dissemination of knowledge to, the sector. Initially, the Government also provided an annual financial contribution, but this ceased in the late 1980s.
In the early 2000s, the Board identified that there was scope for misunderstanding of the activities being carried out for ‘industry good' (and, through that, ‘public good') and commercial activities carried out for specific companies in the sector. In 2002, they created a separate company, BRANZ Ltd, which carried out all the research, advice, testing and education activities under the supervision of its own Board (which was appointed by the Association's Board) with a single CEO managing both entities.
In 2004-05, the Board sought to strengthen the distinction between its role as investor of the Building Research Levy and the role of its subsidiary company BRANZ Ltd as an industry service provider, by appointing separate Chief Executives for the two entities. The Building Research Association of New Zealand Incorporated shortened its operational name to Building Research.
In 2007, the Boards of Building Research and BRANZ Ltd jointly commissioned a review by PricewaterhouseCoopers of the effectiveness of the ‘funder-provider split', five years after it had been implemented. Their report recommended some improvements to the governance structures, which the Boards implemented. In 2008, the Boards of the two entities identified further synergies that would be secured by returning to having common governance, Board membership and one CEO, while explicitly retaining both the Association and BRANZ Ltd as legal entities with well-defined roles within BRANZ Group, and this revised and re-unified structure was implemented in mid-2008, culminating in the appointment of a BRANZ Group CEO on 1 September 2008.