Update from Debbie Chin
New appointment at Standards New Zealand
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Derek Baxter (Bax) to the position of General Manager Solutions at Standards New Zealand.
Bax is currently the Chief Executive of Certified Builders' Association of New Zealand (CBANZ) based in Tauranga, a position that he has held since 2006. Before heading up CBANZ Bax served in the New Zealand Army for over 20 years as a Military Engineer retiring from the regular force in 2005 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Bax still serves in a reserve capacity and was called up to assist on the emergency housing project following the Christchurch earthquake.
In addition to his position as Chief Executive of CBANZ, Bax has held several leadership roles in the building and construction sector. He is Deputy Chair of the Construction Industry Council and was Chair of the Leadership Group responsible for providing strategic guidance at policy level to the NZS 3604 review committee. As a result of this experience, Bax has developed a wide-ranging network across the building and construction industry.
Bax starts with Standards New Zealand on 14 November 2011.
IEC General Meeting in Melbourne
During the week 24 – 28 October, I attended the 75th General Meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) held in Melbourne.
The IEC prepares and publishes international Standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies – collectively known as 'electrotechnology'. It brings together 163 countries and close to 10,000 experts. IEC Standards include globally relevant technical specifications and metrics that allow electric or electronic devices to work efficiently and safely with each other anywhere in the world.
IEC work covers a vast range of technologies including electric vehicles, power generation, transmission and distribution, including Smart Grids, home appliances and office equipment, batteries, nanotechnology, and communication protocols. The IEC supports all forms of conformity assessment and manages conformity assessment systems that certify that equipment, systems, or components conform to international Standards.
There was a lot of discussion during the General Meeting on electric vehicles (EVs) and the development of networks of charging stations. Major car makers predict that up to 10% of cars sold in 2015 will be EVs. With increasing demand for this type of driving technology, it is critical that related infrastructure is developed. To this end the IEC recently published two international EV Standards that will support the mass adoption of electric vehicles.
The two Standards relate to the plugs and sockets that are needed to charge EVs. They pull together research and development surrounding EV charging mechanisms from around the world, while addressing the diverse electricity infrastructure and regulations in different countries. The Standards will help avoid the risk that incompatible solutions are developed by separate organisations in different regions, thus enabling mass marketability of EVs, lower prices, and faster market access – another significant example of the economic and interoperability benefits of Standards. Read more in our Touchstone article 'Electric vehicles ready to charge ahead – two new IEC Standards'.
Standards Council submission lodged with the Royal Commission
I mentioned in the September 2011 Touchstone that the Standards Council would be making a submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure Caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes. On 14 October 2011 a submission was lodged relating to Issue 3 – 'Inquiry into legal and best practice requirements for the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings, including those that are or should be considered as earthquake-prone' – of the six principal issues the Commission is required to address. The submission was lodged subsequent to the release of the Commission's Interim Report on 11 October 2011. This report contains recommendations that have a direct bearing on Standards New Zealand, for example, recommendation 11 of Issue 4, Design Practice, 'that Standards New Zealand be required to initiate the process of amending current building Standards in light of the findings from the Canterbury earthquakes referred to above.'. Standards New Zealand has initiated two fora and we are consulting with the Department of Building and Housing on the next steps.
The Standards Council will be lodging submissions in relation to two other issues arising under the Commission's terms of reference: Issue 4: 'Change of New Zealand design Standards/codes of practice over time and appropriate future controls for new and existing buildings' and Issue 6: 'Future measures'. The submission relating to Issue 3, which is in two parts (A) and (B), can be viewed on the Royal Commission's website in the 'Document Library'. The Interim Report can also be viewed on the website at http://canterbury.royalcommission.govt.nz/Interim-Report.
Visit of Rob Steele, Secretary-General of ISO
Rob Steele, Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) attended the Standards Council meeting in October 2011. Rob is a New Zealander and a former CEO of Standards New Zealand.
In his presentation to Council, Rob talked of the need for Standards organisations to be flexible and responsive to the new realities and demands of the market. ISO has formed 32 new technical groups since 2005 to develop Standards to respond to the needs of evolving sectors. These include natural gas fuelling stations; biogas; energy efficiency and renewable sources – terminology; energy savings; outsourcing; risk management; and project, programme, and portfolio management. Rob also talked of the need for organisations to keep up with new technology, including the use of social media.
Economic benefits of Standards – international case studies
There has been a bit of activity since the last Touchstone on the economic benefits of Standards. ISO has published a new series of international case studies on 11 companies showing that implementing Standards can provide economic benefits from between 0.5% and 4% of their annual sales revenue.
The case studies are based on the experiences of companies operating in a variety of business sectors in 10 countries – Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Botswana, South Africa, and Germany (two case studies).
The size of the companies varies from a small business with 25 employees and annual sales revenue of around $US 4.5 million to companies with several thousand employees and annual revenue of over $US1.5 billion. The sectors include agri-food, chemicals, construction and construction materials, electrical appliances, electrical power transmission, food retail/food logistics, industrial automation equipment, and information and telecommunication.
Over the last decade, several studies have been conducted with the aim of determining the economic and other benefits of the use of Standards. These studies were undertaken by ISO member bodies and other organisations and had mainly a macroeconomic focus. Although each of the studies confirmed that the use of Standards had positive effects and resulted in economic and other benefits, it is difficult to compare the results achieved by the different studies because each used different approaches to measure the impacts of Standards.
These case studies used a newly-developed ISO methodology for the assessment and quantification of the economic benefits of Standards. In this way, it is expected that the results of the different studies can be compared to build a common stock of knowledge about the economic benefits. Read more and download the case studies in our Touchstone article 'International case studies prove economic benefits of Standards article'.
The World Standards Cooperation's latest newsletter is dedicated to the issue of the 'Benefits of Standards to national economies'. It finds that the increased economic efficiency created by the implementation of international Standards generates not only economic benefits for the supplying industry, by increasing profits, but also for users, by lowering prices for goods and services. Added to this, the implementation of international Standards can reduce risks and increase quality of service. Consequently, international Standards are able to improve the economy and the welfare of society as a whole. The newsletter can be seen at http://www.worldstandardscooperation.org/newsletters/003/newsletter03.html.
Finally, to read the BERL report commissioned by the Standards Council on the economic benefits of Standards to New Zealand go to http://www.standards.co.nz:/news/Associated+news.htm.
Media on the cost of Standards
There has been some activity recently in the media on the cost of Standards and whether they should be freely available online. Standards New Zealand’s response to this is that we would support this, as long as the costs are covered some other way, for example, through builders' annual licensing fees or building levies collected through councils.
Meeting rooms for hire
Standards New Zealand has a range of meeting rooms for hire. From meetings for as few as two people to seminars, conferences, or training for up to 60 people, we can accommodate your needs.
We are located in the heart of the Wellington CBD, with parking and accommodation next door. We can also supply catering and a full range of equipment.
Contact us next time you need a venue. Please visit our website for more information.
Debbie Chin, Chief Executive
Standards New Zealand