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NZS 3404 steel structures standard update

The following is an update from Kevin Cowie, Chair of P3404 committee, on the revision of NZS 3404: 1997 Steel Structures Standard (Parts 1 and 2).

Cranes over a steel structure under construction.

Cranes over a steel structure under construction.


Building Systems Performance commissioned a robust review of the NZS 3404:1997 (Parts 1 and 2) in December 2021. This standard is considered a primary reference that is a critical part of the Building Code compliance routes as well as a key citation within the Verification Method, B1/VM1.

NZS 3404 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. It applies to building structures; crane support girders; highway, railway and pedestrian bridges; and composite steel and concrete beams and columns.

In September and October 2020, a scoping workshop was held to review the proposed scope of this standard. The recommendations of the scoping group were used to form the initial scope for this revision project. 

Progress to date

A committee of 19 nominated representatives was approved by the Standards Approval Board in February and March 2022.

There have been eight committee meetings to date. 

Initial meetings focused on agreeing the full scope and planning the revision of this complex standard, including confirming the scope, aligning with similar international standards and assigning tasks to the most appropriate committee and working group members.

Working groups are tasked with rewriting assigned sections of the standard and updating the committee regularly with their progress. When drafted, the committee review the section draft, provide feedback and decide if they approve all the content. 

Below summarises the target dates for completion of the first draft of the main sections.

October 2022

  • Fire

November 2022

  • Scope and General (excluding definitions and notations)
  • Materials and brittle fracture
  • General design requirements
  • Structural analysis

December 2022

  • Members subject to Bending and Shear
  • Members subject to Axial Compression
  • Members subject to Axial Tension
  • Members subject to Combined Actions

January 2023

  • Connections
  • Fatigue
  • Seismic

Next steps

Once the first draft content is approved by the committee, the working group assigned with style and format will then review the section to ensure that the information is easy to understand. This group is also tasked with ensuring there is a consistent layout throughout the standard and that the document can be navigated easily.

Updates and feedback

Further updates will follow significant milestones. 

The final draft will be available for public consultation next year. Public consultation provides an opportunity for all users and potential users to have their say.

Thank you for your interest in the revision of this important standard.

Kind regards,

Kevin Cowie

Chair P 3404 Steel structures