NZS 3910:2023 reference guide
What is NZS 3910?
NZS 3910 is a contract standard. This document reflects modern industry practice while remaining suitable for ‘most contracts most of the time’. An overarching objective of the 2023 revision was to lessen the need to add special conditions of contract, thereby improving consistency, familiarity, and efficiency in construction contracting.
This particular contract standard is related to construction projects and can be used for any size – from small building projects to multi-million-dollar infrastructure projects.
What do I get when I buy NZS 3910:2023?
There are two types of product.
You can buy the hard copy wire-bound standard. This is the whole standard in A4 size, including schedules. The hard copy comes with all the forms and schedules as Word documents and the standard as a PDF. You will be emailed these files if you buy the hard copy.
You can also buy the PDF-only edition. This also comes with all the forms and Word schedules. These files and the PDF are available for download upon purchase. The PDF can be bought as a single-user PDF or as part of an Online Library annual subscription. (You can add the standard to your existing Online Library subscription or start a subscription for 24/7 online access.)
How to use NZS 3910:2023
As with the 2013 edition the standard is made up of a few components. There is the contract agreement itself at the front, followed by the general conditions of contract and then the schedules. At the end are guidelines on how to use the standard. Schedules 3 to 16 are helpful forms relating to specifics of bonds, statements, insurance, certificates and more.
Schedule 1 – Parts A and B – are fillable forms to detail specifics of the contract in question.
Schedule 2 is also a form but is entirely open. It is called ‘Special conditions to contract – Other conditions of contract’. If there are clauses in the general conditions of contract that need to be altered or added to, they can be amended using this schedule.
The goal with the standard is to require as few special conditions as possible, with the general terms, along with the specific variables assigned in Schedule 1, covering most ground.
The standard and especially the forms and schedules are intended to be used to enable the agreement of a construction contract. Typical procedures in tendering and agreeing the contract are permissible. In particular, the forms and schedules may be filled in and shared and emailed.
Can we change the text?
See the information under the heading ‘Licences to adapt NZS 3910’.
Can we use content from the standard in other documents?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a licence to use material from the standard in other documents. We are generally happy to enable usage with a fee relating to extent of usage.
Licences to adapt NZS 3910
As well as selling the standard itself, we are selling licences to adapt NZS 3910, under strict terms. While we recommend the standard to be used as intended, with any necessary variations listed in Schedule 2, there are a number of legitimate reasons that people may want to change the contract. For those organisations, we have developed a method for providing a licence and an editable version of the standard via our website. By purchasing the licence you are agreeing to its terms and conditions, which can be read before purchase on the product page for each licence.
Note that multiple copies of each licence can be purchased as is required to cover your needs.
The following links take you to the product pages of the four licence options:
- Five-use 2-year licence to adapt NZS 3910:2023.(external link)
- Fifteen-use 2-year licence to adapt NZS 3910:2023.(external link)
- Forty-five-use 2-year licence to adapt NZS 3910:2023.(external link)
- Unlimited-use 2-year licence to adapt NZS 3910:2023.(external link)
Why are we licensing adaptations to NZS 3910?
There have been requests from those who generate multiple contracts from NZS 3910 for the ability to adapt the contract, or to use the contract text within existing systems. In many instances this means making changes to the general conditions directly in the general conditions, as opposed to using Schedule 2.
- The contract must state at the start: ‘This contract is adapted from NZS 3910:2023 under licence from Standards New Zealand, licence number [unique number assigned on purchase]’.
- All textual changes to the NZS 3910 original must be made clear, through strikethrough, marginal notation, highlighting, outlining, underlining or emboldening (etc.) so that all parties to the contract can easily determine where changes have been made. (Note that changes of font and presentation – look and feel changes – are not considered ‘textual’ changes.)
Any adaptation of NZS 3910 to create a contract that does not comply with these two points is unlicensed usage.
Misuse of NZS 3910
For the 2013 edition of NZS 3910 there was some confusion over what types of use of the standard were allowed. Could it be photocopied and emailed? Were there different rules for the Microsoft Word versions of the schedules? Could logos be added? Could the schedules be adapted?
Industry wanted clarity on these and other issues, which is why this page exists. A clear picture of use and misuse helps everyone and helps retain the integrity and intent of the standard. Many industry players have also made clear they are keen to self-police to ensure practice stays within these bounds and everybody knows where they stand.
Once purchased, the basic rule is that you can use the forms and schedules as they are provided. These can be photocopied or printed and filled in, or the electronic versions can be filled in where indicated. The electronic versions have some text that is fixed and cannot be changed.
These files can be shared and updated by the parties involved.
All other use of NZS 3910 requires a licence, whether to adapt the schedules, such as by adding logos, or to adapt the general conditions of contract. To display a contract online also requires a licence.
How do I know if a contract adapted from NZS 3910 is legitimate?
Everyone who has purchased a licence to adapt NZS 3910, or who has adapted NZS 3910 using a licensed digital product, has a licence number. This licence number must appear at the start of any contract adapted from the standard. If you email email@example.com we can let you know if a licence number is legitimate and can confirm that the party using it is a legitimate licensee. If there is no licence number on an adapted contract, please get in touch with us.
Any adapted contract must also clearly show where changes to the original NZS 3910:2023 have been made.
Automating or autopopulating the forms
A number of users of NZS 3910 were also keen to see some ability to autopopulate the schedules so that, for instance, repeating ‘address’ fields would automatically populate. In the end Standards New Zealand determined that different players had different needs in this space and there was no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we are keen to licence product developers to make tools that aid specific users of the contract (see below).
A company can agree a licence to produce a digital product that helps users adapt NZS 3910 to their needs. The company can then provide their product to customers under commercial terms with Standards New Zealand. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. Note that the licences to adapt NZS 3910 (as sold on this website) are not sufficient to create commercial products. These must be licensed separately. Customers of digital products licensees, however, do not need to purchase a licence from Standards New Zealand to use these products.
We will be updating this page as new queries or areas of ambiguity come to light. Please email email@example.com if you have other questions.
Last updated: 28 November 2023