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11 November 2022

New building rules proposed in response to climate change

Saturday 17 February 2024 | Written by Joanne Holden | Published in Local, National

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New building rules proposed  in response to climate change
Infrastructure Cook Islands is hoping to have the proposed changes to the Building Code, in an effort to keep up with a “changing climate and technological progress”, tabled in Parliament this year PHOTO: CI NEWS. 20032507

New rules for building in the Cook Islands are expected to be tabled in Parliament this year in an effort to keep up with a “changing climate and technological progress”.

Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) Secretary Elizabeth Wright-Koteka said the changes could impact both new builds and existing structures, with the Government arm aiming to have its proposal ready by June for Parliament sitting.

Wright-Koteka said the proposed changes to the Building Code included a minimum width for the front of commercial and public premises, onsite rainwater capture, reference to a vehicle crossing standard, flexibility to the existing parking rule when there is ample public parking, worker housing, and a height in relation to boundary provision.

She said the proposal was in response to the changing climate, environmental degradation, damage to homes and public infrastructure, and to improve people’s safety and comfort – including those with a disability.

Commercial and public building permit applications would be required to include the façade design, she said.

“These updates to the Building Code do not account for the existing built environment. They would only apply to new builds,” she said.

“The solution to this is to enable Government to require buildings and surroundings to come into compliance with specific new rules, depending on changes in the climate and social needs, all within a reasonable timeframe.”

Wright-Koteka said ICI’s “first target area for compliance” was buildings along the main road through Avarua, holding a meeting with landowners and businesses between the Beachcomber and CITC Hardware last week.

“We received helpful feedback from the meeting and will be reflecting these in our briefing to our Minister and upon his approval, in the submission to Cabinet.”

ICI houses Building Control – administering the Building Controls and Standards Act 1991, regulations, and the Building Code 2019.

Wright-Koteka said Cabinet granted ICI approval to write a new Building Bill in 2019, to “bring building legislation and regulation into the 21st century to reflect the changing climate and technological progress”.

“In order to include new proposed changes, ICI will be seeking approval from Cabinet to include these in the final submission of the new building legislative documents,” she said.

“Our National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ puts wellbeing at the forefront of how we develop and there are a raft of policies that say what we should be doing, so through this and other work in the public infrastructure arena, we are trying to work towards achieving the NSDA and other national policy objectives.”

Comments

Roger Malcolm on 17/02/2024

Surely these rules are for Rarotonga only and not the Cook Islands. Please clarify this?