The release of this advance copy of the new National Code for Utilities in the Transport Corridors is the beginning of the final steps towards the full use off the Code, which is anticipated to become mandatory over the next 12 to 18 months.
The release of the advance copy is to provide Corridor Managers and Utility Operators opportunity to review their procedures for changes that may be required in order to implement the Code in 2009 It also signals an opportunity to identify any errors in, or aspects of the Code that will be difficult or impractical to implement, and feedback on these will be received up to 15 February 2009. It is then intended to release the Code for implementation on or about the 1st of March2009. This final implementation copy will form part of the consultation process required before producing the final document which will be mandated by law.
The Code has been developed by the industry for the industry with the key objectives of developing a nationally consistent process, formalizing current industry best practice, and minimizing third party damage problems. It is developed in the context of the Utilities' rights of access to the corridor and the Corridor Managers' rights to set reasonable conditions. A draft was released at a series of workshops in February this year and the last nine months have involved addressing feedback relating to this and a legal review. The Code
- was developed on a consensus basis and is intended to be fair to all parties
- sets out the roles of the stakeholders
- promotes proactive cooperation between the parties
- outlines the planning process
- provides standard reasonable conditions
- provides standard forms and templates
- establishes a dispute resolution process
- identifies the ongoing monitoring and improvement processes for the code itself
While its introduction at this stage is still voluntary, many who participated in the development workshops earlier this year have been eagerly anticipating its release not only to enable them to get their systems in place before it becomes mandatory, but because it has been recognised as the most up-to-date and accurate documentation available to address the issues associated with road openings and utility damage. Probably the most important action you can take is to get together with your colleagues in your area across the sector to discuss how the Code will be implemented in your area. These processes are outlined in the code as liaison meetings. The second will be to attend our nationwide seminars in 2009.
We will be seeking further feedback following the implementation in 2009 before a final version of the Code is submitted for Ministerial approval as anticipated in the impending legislation. The NZUAG will also be running some training/implementation seminars in 2009.