Improving the Structural Design of Buildings


RECENTLY, CHANGES have been made to the Standard that defines design loadings for buildings. An existing New Zealand Standard (NZS 4203) has been replaced by a series of new Standards (the AS/NZS and NZS 1170 series).

The requirements of the new loadings Standards are fundamental to structural design. To refl ect these changes, the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) will be reviewing key standards, starting with sponsoring amendments to four design Standards:

  • NZS 3404 Part 1:1997 Steel structures
  • NZS 4229:1999 Concrete masonry buildings not requiring specific design
  • NZS 4230:2004 Design of reinforced concrete masonry structures
  • NZS 4251 Part 1:1998 Solid plastering – Cement plasters for walls ceilings and soffits

“Designers use the Standards to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of designs – ensuring safety without introducing unnecessary construction costs,” says Mark Batt, Business Relationships Manager at Standards New Zealand. “The revised Standards will aim to ensure structures are based on the most up-to-date research and international knowledge of loads that buildings must be able to withstand – such as wind, earthquake, snow and ice, and permanent loadings.” In addition, while reviewing the solid plastering Standard, the committee will also take the opportunity to improve weather tightness of plastered buildings.

All four Standards are currently cited in the compliance documents of the Building Code. In joint consultation with Standards New Zealand, DBH will ensure that the amendments are cited in the Building Code as early as possible.