Michael Pascoe writes:
Maybe I missed it but for a week now I’ve
been waiting for one of the tabloid outlets to do an obvious follow-up on a great
SMHletter to the editor about NSW bureaucracy gone crazy. Or,
perhaps even more frightening, about government by a crazy computer program.
The writer detailed the folly of BASIX –
the Building Sustainability Index. As the politburo itself puts it:
BASIX is a NSW Government initiative
that ensures new homes are designed and built to use less potable water and
produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
BASIX is a flexible tool which allows
the user to select from a range of options in order to meet the energy and
water reduction targets.
Each development application for a
residential dwelling must be submitted with a BASIX Certificate. A Certificate
is issued once a BASIX assessment has been satisfactorily completed, using the
In plain English, BASIX is a computer
program that controls residential building design. From July 1, that control is
being extended to renovations and additions, but what it doesn’t seem to have
is any intelligence. HAL might be a better option.
Ian A. White of Blacktown exposes
the folly with a tale reminiscent of Herman Kahn’s “hot snow load.”
I once heard the conservative nuclear
strategist and philosopher exemplify government stupidity with the story of an
architect friend’s attempt to build an environmentally sympathetic development
in northern California.
The architect wanted the buildings to be
unobtrusive in a bushy setting, so he designed almost flat metal roofs. That
part of California once or twice a year would get an inch or so of snow, so the relevant
government had to be assured the flat roofs would be strong enough to support
the weight of two inches of snow.
That part of California also
experienced one or two days a year when the temperature might climb to 100
degrees Fahrenheit, so the government had to be assured the flat roofs
maintained their integrity after expanding in the heat.
The designs were knocked back because the
roofs weren’t strong enough to support the weight of two inches of snow at 100
Well, NSW is just like that. Maybe Kahn was
right and all governments are. Read the letter.