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  Building Research Levy

In the late 1960s, the building and construction industry requested a levy be imposed on the industry to fund relevant research for the good of the industry.

The Building Research Levy Act 1969 authorises the levying of building contractors to provide money for research into improved techniques and materials for use in the building industry.

Under this Act, 0.1 per cent of the contract value (above $20,000) of every construction project put forward for building consent in New Zealand is payable by the builder to the Building Research Association of New Zealand Inc. In practice, the levy is charged and collected by Building Consent Authorities and then paid to BRANZ.

Investing the levy

In accordance with the Building Research Levy Act 1969, money raised by the Levy is used by BRANZ for the following purposes:

  • Conducting construction industry-related research and other scientific work.
  • Allocation of grants to persons, institutions or bodies carrying out construction industry-related research.
  • Publication of information.
  • Establishment and maintenance of a library.
  • Holding of lectures, seminars, exhibitions and public meetings to disseminate information about building research.
  • Provision of an advisory service.
  • Acquisition of land and premises for the purposes of BRANZ.
  • Payment of staff salaries and honoraria of directors.

The legislation controls the use of levy funding and the purposes to which it may be put. The amount of actual levy funds collected each year can vary significantly, in response to the level of building activity.

BRANZ therefore has no direct control over the levy income it receives but smooths out the high and low years by setting aside reserves in high levy income years to be used in times of low levy income.

BRANZ makes independent assessments of how the available levy should be invested for New Zealand's construction future.

Key to this activity is our relationship with industry leaders, and the monitoring and analysis of industry news, trends and issues.

An independent procedure involving the following steps is used to determine the levy investments BRANZ will make on behalf of the industry each year:

  • The industry's current and likely future knowledge needs are assessed through regular surveying.
  • The impact of any current or known future Building Controls changes are assessed.
  • Overseas construction industry developments are assessed in terms of any flow-on effects or potential benefits if applied to New Zealand.
  • The impact of any existing industry research and technology transfer strategies on these needs is determined.
  • The best method of delivering on each knowledge need (e.g. through research, publication, a seminar or series of seminars etc) is considered.
  • The benefit and cost of each knowledge need is assessed.
  • The knowledge needs are ranked.
  • A programme of work that fits this analysis is proposed to the Board for approval.
  • The outcomes of the process are published to the industry, researchers and other research funding organisations.

BRANZ has set up a Research Agenda Guidance Committee and a Levy Allocation Guidance Committee to advise the Board on this levy investment process. The committees comprise an appropriate mix of people from the Building Research Advisory Council, BRANZ staff and industry. This further enhances the transparency and accountability of the levy investment process.