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Standards development

Standards Development Workprogramme

Standards New Zealand will continue to develop and update standards for various sectors, including building and construction, gas, primary industries, consumer protection and product safety, electrical safety and energy, and renewable energy and energy efficiency. Standards New Zealand is contributing to the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of these industries. We anticipate publishing about 170 to 200 standards in the coming year.

Some key standards development projects for the coming year

External stakeholder engagement, communications and business development

Standards New Zealand is focusing on three key initiatives to maximise the impact of standards on the wider New Zealand economy and grow its revenue.

  • Engaging with key stakeholders: Standards New Zealand is proactively engaging with key stakeholders in priority sectors to identify opportunities to provide viable standards solutions. This sector engagement will help increase awareness of standards and their value and help try to grow the use of standards in New Zealand. Examples include participation in targeted industry forums and conferences, participating in sector professional development and learning webinars, and contributing material to a range of industry and sector publications.
  • Raising awareness of Standards New Zealand’s work: Standards New Zealand is actively showcasing its value and services through a range of channels to encourage more industry bodies and government agencies to use and commission standards, increase committee participation, and grow the use of standards across their sectors.
  • Delivering access/sales solutions: Standards New Zealand is delivering access solutions to new customers, including traditional access products like online library subscriptions, and sponsorship arrangements. This will help to widen the reach and use of standards, while also contributing to our revenue needs. We anticipate about 350,000 individual downloads of standards this coming year.

NZS 4297 Engineering design of earth buildings

A key resource for building consent authorities, designers, builders, and owner-builders to help them determine compliance with the New Zealand Building Code. Used in New Zealand and around the world to support the successful construction of earth walled buildings.

Development of SNZ TS 1170.5 Structural design actions – Part 5: Earthquake actions

This is a significant piece of work, helping to define requirements for earthquake engineering design in buildings. It looks to address and incorporate recently published changes to the National Seismic Hazards Model and various learnings from recent earthquakes in New Zealand.

Revision of NZS 8100 Dairy herd testing

This revision will align the standard with international practices and technological advancements. The standard supports an industry contributing more than $20 billion in export value and employing more than 50,000 people.

Hydrogen standards suite

Fifteen direct adoptions of international standards are set to form the first tranche in a suite of hydrogen standards. They will include standards on hydrogen gas infrastructure, refuelling stations, transportation, and storage.

Revision of NZS 5442 Specification for reticulated natural gas

This standard is a resource to enable the blending of biomethane into the gas network.

Revision of SNZ PAS 5210 High-temperature heat pumps

This PAS focuses on the energy efficiency and safety requirements of high-temperature heat pumps.

Revision of NZS 3604 Timber-framed buildings

This is effectively the ‘bible’ for building residential housing in New Zealand. Its revision includes an expanded scope to help support intensification of housing in New Zealand, including higher stories and medium-density housing design.

Revision of NZS 3910 Conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction

This document provides a standard form of general conditions into building and civil engineering construction contract documents, ensuring they are suited to New Zealand’s industry and legislative environment. This standard has significant interest from the legal profession, insurance sector, government agencies with large capital works and building programmes, and building and construction companies of all sizes throughout New Zealand.

Revision of NZS 3404 Steel structures standard

Building System Performance commissioned a robust review of NZS 3404:1997 (Parts 1 and 2) in December 2021. This standard is considered a primary reference used in the New Zealand Building Code. It supports the design and construction of steel buildings in New Zealand. It sets out the minimum requirements for the selection of materials, corrosion-protection systems, and the fabrication, erection and construction of steel structures including buildings; crane support girders; highway, railway and pedestrian bridges; and composite steel and concrete beams and columns.

SNZ PAS 6013 On-journey electric vehicle (EV) public charging

This EV public charging publicly available specification (PAS) supports emissions reduction. PAS provide a pathway outlined by Waka Kotahi and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) for rollout of EV public charging infrastructure, while at the same time providing guidance to suppliers, and installers of associated EV public charging equipment around their compliance obligations.

Joint standards with Australia

About 50 standards are expected to be developed across electrical safety, energy, gas, plumbing, building and construction in the next 12 months.

We will: 

  • participate in ISO’s general assembly in Australia
  • participate in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) general meeting in Egypt
  • in conjunction with Air New Zealand, host an ISO sub-committee meeting related to aerospace electrical requirements
  • host the IEC’s Secretary General
  • participate in IEC National Committee webinars and meetings
  • participate in ISO Asia-Pacific monthly meetings
  • participate in the Pacific Islands Standards Committee (PISC) meeting
  • participate in the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) forum
  • work with Standards Australia on a range of matters including: joint standards development, EV technology, international standards adoption and modification for Australasia, various IP and copyright matters.

Current and emerging trends and priorities in standards

Many national standards bodies in other countries are focusing their efforts on similar strategic priorities comparable to those identified in our new strategy, in particular in the areas of climate change and digital technology. For a snapshot of other standards bodies and their associated priorities, please see Appendix H.

These common priorities offer the best opportunity for cross-country collaboration, potentially enabling Standards New Zealand to achieve its strategic goals more readily.

Other national standards bodies advise that they also face a number of challenges to their operations. The following themes arose during the ISO general assembly in 2022:

  • Relevance – Suitable standards are available from non-standards bodies (for example private organisations and industry bodies), which are perceived as being able to produce standards more nimbly than national standards bodies. The ‘classic’ standards development approach may be regarded by parts of the sector as very ‘old world’ and not always fit for purpose for today’s needs. Other obstacles noted relate to the technical nature of standards, which are not always easily understood by lay people.
  • Speed to market – The market demands speed, but national standards bodies take time to develop consensus-based standards. The area of digital technology and its associated rapid pace of change pose a particular challenge for standards bodies.
  • Relationships with governments – Standard bodies that are not part of government struggle to forge effective working relationships with governments, and many regard working with government as a new frontier. Standards New Zealand is ahead of the game in this respect, as it is now part of government.
  • Relationships with governments – It is challenging to get better representation on standards committees so that they, and the standards produced, better reflect the wider societies that they operate within.

Although challenging, this information provides a high level of reassurance that many of the issues faced internationally are comparable to those faced by Standards New Zealand, and the priorities identified overseas and in New Zealand are well aligned.


Our new strategic plan should help set Standards New Zealand on a path towards addressing some of the most commonly shared needs that cut across multiple industries. Standards by themselves will not solve global warming. Standards by themselves will not create a safe or prosperous digital economy. However, what they will do is provide a degree of assurance, performance expectations, guided practice or protection to ensure activities in those spaces follow agreed good practice by those working in related fields. Therefore, they are a key part of any solutions developed.

Interoperability, safety, protection, trade, market access, business efficiency and quality assurance remain key objectives of standardisation. There are two key avenues that standards add value. One is through supporting conformance with regulation by giving prescribed performance measures or requirements. The second is by providing voluntary good practice guidance for businesses to do better.

Standards New Zealand is in a phase of evolution as it adapts to meet the ever-changing market needs and operating environment. Standards solutions now, and into the future, will help to reduce energy use and fossil fuel dependence and support bringing down associated carbon emissions. Participation on a global stage ensures we continue to have an influential voice at the table of international standards development. By not passively accepting standards that impact our industries, we can instead ensure that considerations for local applications and our own national knowledge and expertise are contributed.

The work we do adds value to Aotearoa New Zealand’s economy and society. Everybody is a standards user, whether that’s through choice, compliance, or as a consumer safely using something they’ve bought. The work ahead must continue so that this always remains the case. For quality, for safety and for prosperity.

Not all cows are created equal

New Zealand benefits by breeding high-yielding dairy stock

Not all cows are created equal. This is the gist of NZS 8100 Dairy herd testing, a New Zealand-specific dairy herd testing standard under revision, which aims to align with international practices and technological advancements. With the revision commissioned by Dairy New Zealand, the standard supports an industry contributing over $20 billion of export value and employing more than 50,000 people.

The long-term efficiency of the dairy industry relies on accurately identifying the future dams (mother cows) of bulls whose progeny, or descendants, will be the most efficient converters of feed to farm profit. The aim is
for the next generation of sires to be better than the previous generation.

With 3.73 million cows herd tested across New Zealand’s 11,000 herds in 2020/21, the standard impacts a significant number of stock and farmers. NZS 8100 is a key tool for Certified Herd Testers and applies to herd testing covered by the Dairy Industry (Herd Testing and New Zealand Dairy Core Database) Regulations 2001, or its successor.

Herd of cows in a paddock at dawn with a tree and hills in the background and the sun on the horizon