How-to guide: QOROX case study
This informative how-to guide details how QOROX began introducing a new product into New Zealand's construction sector.
Who is this guide for?
Suppliers looking to bring new products or technology to market in New Zealand, or clients and designers looking to incorporate new technologies into their projects.
Explore technologies in the market early
When QOROX was approached by its client to look at 3D printed walls, the design had already received building consent based on traditional construction. While the client achieved the desired outcome, there was additional time and cost spent in submitting an amendment to the original building consent to be able to use QOROX's technology. Scanning the market early in the design process to see what technology might be available to achieve the desired project outcomes can reduce the risk of rework.
Start small to expand
The process of getting a new product adopted in the New Zealand market can be long, and at times, demotivating. Starting small can often help create the change needed to move things forward.
QOROX adapted technology to deliver an incremental approach. By comparing the final product to traditional masonry construction, it was able to demonstrate its performance in meeting the Building Code and receive appraisal from the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ). The final product looks similar to other components created by existing technologies, such as pre-cast construction, making the leap of faith from old to new easier.
The company also adopted a pilot approach to test the technology on relatively small projects to demonstrate its potential and reduce risks to acceptable levels for all involved.
Find early adopters
New Zealand is facing a number of challenges in the construction sector with unprecedented levels of construction activity, supply chain constraints, labour shortages, rising inflation and the ongoing effects of COVID-19. This is in addition to the existing issues of low productivity across the sector.
There are many in the construction sector including clients, designers and builders that are looking for opportunities to develop new solutions to current problems. Scalable solutions that can be repeated at volume could be a factor in selecting potential clients, especially if the technology requires significant upfront investment.
Understand the support available
There are a number of organisations that have been established to help businesses grow and develop new products. The Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBIE) provides a range of support for small businesses, including many resources on the business.govt.nz website and access to regional business partners who can coach business leaders on growth strategies.
There are also a variety of funds that businesses can apply for, particularly if your product helps achieve government objectives like carbon reduction.
Callaghan Innovation(external link) is also able to help businesses navigate various funding sources.
Engage early for building consents
The consenting process in New Zealand, and general reluctance in the construction sector to depart from tried and tested methods of construction, can be barriers for innovators. It's important to make a plan for how you will work through these barriers so that your product can be adopted more widely by the market.
Early engagement with the relevant Building Consent Authority is essential to discuss plans for showing how your product complies with the Building Code (see alternative solutions). Applying for a building consent on a project-by-project basis can require significant time and effort, particularly if your product is a significant departure from the Acceptable Solutions or Verified Methods defined by the Building Code.
BRANZ provides an appraisal service(external link) and products appraised through this process are commonly accepted by the Building Consent Authority as meeting the Building Code.
While a BRANZ appraisal was appropriate for QOROX's 3D printed concrete, another thing to consider is CodeMark – a voluntary product certification scheme that provides an easily understood and robust way to show that a building product meets the requirements of the Building Code. A product can be a building or construction method, building design or a building material. Products that have a CodeMark certificate must be accepted by the Building Consent Authority as deemed to be compliant with the Building Code.