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Removing barriers in the building system – over 120 building standards funded for free download

Over 120 building standards used for Building Code compliance have been funded for free download thanks to a successful collaboration between MBIE (Ministry of Business Innovation and Business) and Standards New Zealand. This is great news for the industry and the public.

As a regulator of the building system, MBIE wants to reduce barriers that prevent people from ‘doing the right thing’ within the New Zealand building system. As part of this work, MBIE is funding over 120 standards used for Building Code compliance, which are now free to download from the Standards New Zealand website(external link).

Standards New Zealand manages the process for developing standards and providing access to them. This initiative fits strongly with Standards NZ’s strategy of working with regulators and industry to get more standards pre-funded, as well as enabling better access to standards that make a difference to the wellbeing of New Zealanders. This, in turn, helps grow New Zealand for all.

This latest funding initiative is a follow-up to a highly successful pilot between MBIE and Standards New Zealand in December 2017, when MBIE sponsored a handful of important building standards for free download. These standards have since been downloaded over 15,000 times.

MBIE expects the success of the pilot will now snowball as these more than 120 standards become free to download, making it easier for people to ‘build it right’ and comply with the Building Code. These building standards directly help demonstrate compliance with the New Zealand Building Code to ensure our buildings and homes are safe and well-constructed. 

Some key funded standards

Timber framed construction

One of the funded standards is New Zealand’s most sought after: NZS 3604:2011 Timber-framed buildings. This will be very useful to building professionals and homeowners. When read in conjunction with Acceptable Solution B1/AS1, it describes Code-compliant methods for the design and construction of timber framing in buildings up to three stories. Other funded standards relevant to timber-framed buildings include NZS 3602:2003 Timber and wood-based products for use in building and NZS 3640:2003 Chemical preservation of round and sawn timber, which, when read in conjunction with Acceptable Solution B2/AS1, are used to select appropriately treated timber used in building work.

Concrete and masonry work

A companion standard to NZS 3604:2011 is NZS 4229:2013 Concrete masonry buildings not requiring specific design, which describes methods for the design and construction of concrete masonry in buildings up to three stories. It too should be read in conjunction with Acceptable Solution B1/AS1. Also being funded are NZS 3109:1997 Concrete construction, NZS 4210:2001 Masonry construction: Materials and workmanship, NZS 4230:2004 Design of reinforced concrete masonry structures and SNZ HB 4236:2002 Masonry veneer wall cladding.

Building fit-out work

A standard that will be particularly useful for sub-trade work in multi-storey apartment and commercial buildings is NZS 4219:2009 Seismic performance of engineering systems in buildings. It covers the design, construction and installation of seismic restraints for systems such as air-handling units, tanks, cabinets, pipework and ductwork, and should be read in conjunction with B1/VM1. 


Designers, window manufacturers and glaziers will make good use of NZS 4223 Part 3:2016 Glazing in buildings – human impact safety requirements.  When read in conjunction with B1/AS1, this standard covers where and what type of safety glass and other measures are needed in situations where people could impact on, or fall through, glass in buildings. Other glass standards that will be funded for free download include NZS 4223 Part 1:2008 Code of practice for glazing in buildings - Glass selection and glazing, NZS 4223 Part 2:2016 Glazing in buildings Part 2: Insulating glass units and NZS 4223.4:2008 Code of practice for glazing in buildings - Wind, dead, snow, and live actions.  Also useful to designers and window manufacturers is NZS 4211:2008 Specification for performance of windows.

Structural design

Another standard, highly relevant to engineers given recent events, is NZS 1170 Part 5:2004 Structural design actions, Part 5: Earthquake actions - New Zealand Structural design actions and Part 5: Earthquake actions - New Zealand, which covers earthquake loads on buildings.  Also being funded is the recently-published SNZ TS 3404:2018 Durability requirements for steel structures and components, which covers the corrosion protection of structural steelwork.  Other engineering standards that will become available for free download include NZS 3404 Parts 1 and 2:1997 Steel structures standard, NZS 3101 Parts 1 and 2:2006 Concrete structures standard and NZS 4230:2004 Design of reinforced concrete masonry structures.

Contract template

Having a contract for building work over $30,000 is mandatory and is made easier with the standard building contract provided by NZS 3902:2004 Housing, alterations and small buildings contract, which continues to be free to download. This Standard is very popular with homeowners and building professionals and has been downloaded more than 4,000 times to date.

Energy Efficiency

Another standard that will continue to be available for free download is NZS 4218:2009 Thermal insulation – Housing and small buildings. When read in conjunction with Acceptable Solution H1/AS1, it provides a way of complying with the New Zealand Building Code for the thermal insulation of houses for energy efficiency. Another standard that helps keep household energy consumption down is NZS 4305:1996 Energy efficiency – domestic type hot water systems, which includes measures for the insulation of hot water cylinders and pipework. Other free Standards relating to energy efficiency include NZS 4214:2006 Methods of determining the total thermal resistance of parts of buildings, NZS 4243.1:2007 Energy efficiency – Large buildings – Building thermal envelope, and NZS 4243.2:2007 Energy efficiency – Large buildings – Lighting.

Download these and other funded building standards on the Standards New Zealand website(external link).