→ Download this issue of Touchstone as a pdf


Debbie Chin

Christmas message

Our 80th anniversary year has been a busy, challenging, and productive one. As well as business as usual – including publishing 20 New Zealand Standards and 28 joint Australian/New Zealand Standards – we: lodged 3 written submissions with the Royal Commission into the Canterbury Earthquakes and appeared before the Royal Commission; extensively engaged with the building and construction sector on changes required to building Standards arising out of the Royal Commission's Interim Report; held a very successful breakfast at Parliament to honour our 2011 Meritorious Service Awards winners; introduced new services and products, for example, the sale of PDFs of international Standards through our webshop; and, no small undertaking, we moved offices. Last, but not least, we have been heavily involved in the review of New Zealand's standards and conformance infrastructure being undertaken by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The importance and integrity of our Standards have featured in both independent Royal Commissions of Inquiry that occurred this year, with the result being support for both Standards and the standards setting process.

As we head into 2013, we will advance the continuous improvements we have started this year such as the changes to our website and webshop, the new collaborative site for committee members, and changes to Touchstone as a result of your feedback. The ultimate goal of all of this, of course, is to provide better and enhanced services.

My sincere thanks to all the dedicated staff at Standards New Zealand and to all of our committed expert volunteers for all your hard work this year. Thank you also to our funders, members, and customers for your continued support. Have a great break over Christmas and New Year, and very best wishes from me and my team for 2013.

Message from the Chair

The Standards Council and Standards New Zealand have made good progress in key areas during 2012 by increasing our flexibility, and adapting where we could to meet a changing environment. This included engaging with industry sectors to ensure relevant application of resources; ongoing development of new products and services; and investing in our staff and key technological resources to offer new and improved systems and processes. The number of Standards referenced by regulators continues to grow. However, as I outlined in our Annual Report, we are experiencing financial challenges due to less than budgeted spending on Standards development by regulators; delays in legislative referencing of some Standards; and deteriorating market conditions for the sale of Standards in the current economic downturn.

A significant issue for the Standards Council over this year was our involvement in the inquiry into the Canterbury earthquakes. Much work went into three comprehensive submissions responding to three of the Royal Commission's Notices of Issues, and the Chief Executive of Standards New Zealand, Debbie Chin, and I appeared before the Commission during the hearing on Roles and Responsibilities. We dedicated considerable resource to this work because we felt it was critical to highlight the importance of Standards to New Zealand's building control framework by ensuring construction methods are resilient, reliable, and fit for national conditions. This continues what was done 80 years ago when we were established in the wake of the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake to ensure future such events did not result in the same devastation and loss of life of that event.

As you are aware, there has been another key area on which we have been focusing our attention, and that is the Standards and Conformance Infrastructure policy review currently underway by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The Standards Council welcomes this review as we see it as presenting the opportunity to increase the benefits of Standards and standardisation to New Zealand, putting our impact on a sustainable footing over the long term. In the meantime, we – the Council and the team at Standards New Zealand – will continue to apply our capability, and use opportunities to contribute, for the benefit of our stakeholders.

On behalf of the Standards Council, enjoy the holiday season!

Update on NZS 3910:2003 Conditions of contract for building and engineering construction

You will recall that I have updated on you on progress of the revision of NZS 3910 through various issues of Touchstone this year. The Standard is a significant one for New Zealand as it is our most widely used standard form of contract conditions. It provides a standard form of general conditions of contract that can be adapted to incorporate into construction contract documents. Recently, the NZ Contractors Federation and Roading NZ signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a firm mutual commitment to promote and support NZS 3910 as the primary contract for civil works in New Zealand. We recently finished the public comment stage on the revision – thank you to everyone who contributed – and received an astonishing 1000+ comments. A report on recent progress is in Touchstone.

Standards New Zealand recertified to international quality management Standard

The global benchmark for quality management International Standard ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements (published here as AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008). I am delighted to advise that Standards New Zealand has again recently been recertified as compliant to AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008. This means we have demonstrated that we have a quality management system enabling us to consistently meet customer, statutory, and regulatory requirements, and build confidence. You can read more in Touchstone.

Progress on our new website

I am delighted to report that the work to develop our new website and webshop is progressing very well. Now that we are going to be offering a significantly larger selection of Standards with the addition of catalogues from international standards bodies and the national bodies of our key trading partners, we felt it was essential to have a more intelligent, faster search engine. Search results will be presented in a clearer format with icons to help distinguish current Standards from superseded or withdrawn versions. Our aim is to help you get to the information or Standard that you are looking for in as short a time as possible.

2012 New Zealand Excellence in Engineering Awards

The annual IPENZ Engineering Excellence Awards were held in Auckland on 30 November. It was an enjoyable evening with approximately 450 people attending to honour those engineering professionals who are top in their field. Standards New Zealand is the sponsor of the Supreme Award and it gave me great pleasure to present the Award to Beca and Fletcher Construction Company Ltd for their New Lynn Rail Trench and Station project. The project was part of a major upgrade to the Auckland rail network, duplicating the track to allow for increased train frequency to meet passenger demand. The work involved moving100,000 square metres of earth and 60,000 square metres of concrete was used in the diaphragm retaining wall and trench base slab construction. The project was completed in 2010. You can see more on the Awards event on the IPENZ website. (

Setting the Standard for 80 years – reflecting on the 70s

Here are some highlights from the 1970s in Standards New Zealand's history.


14 October marked the first World Standards Day.


June 1971:

First New Zealand Standard published in metric terms (NZS 6501: P: 1971 'The International System (SI) Units and their Application').


July 1971:

Standard Certification Mark revised.


January 1972:

First licences issued under the New Standard Certification Mark.



Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) set up enabling countries on the Pacific rim to have regular consultation on matters of mutual assistance.


September 1975:

At a conference in Wellington the Director of Standards Association of New Zealand and the Director of Standards Association of Australia presented a joint paper to 60 manufacturers with result that a working group was set up to improve and expedite the alignment of manufacturing Standards between Australia and NZ.


June 1978:

Standards Association of New Zealand 'Technical Help to Exporters' service launched by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Robert Muldoon.


May 1979:

New Zealand admitted to full membership of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).


December 1979:

New Zealand Metric Advisory Board disbanded on completion of its task.

Some examples of Standards published in the 1970s:

  • NZS 3614 The manufacture of construction plywood

  • NZS 7122 Accessories for use with general purpose hospital beds

  • NZS 6651 Television reception. Metric units

  • NZS 5411 Child-restraining devices in motor vehicles

  • NZS 8777 Men's industrial overalls for general purposes

  • NZS 8621 Life jackets for use in sheltered waters.

Standards New Zealand close-down period

21 December 2012 to 14 January 2013

Every year Standards New Zealand has a close-down period over the Christmas and New Year break to enable our employees to rest and relax after the busy year.

We will be officially closed from 12 noon on Friday 21 December 2012 and will re-open at 8.30am on Monday 14 January 2013.

Placing orders for Standards over this time

You can still place orders for PDFs, add Standards to your Online Library portfolio, and order hard copy documents during the close-down period via our webshop at If you are a member of Standards New Zealand, or pay by credit card, your PDF order will be fulfilled immediately. All hard copy and other orders will be processed and fulfilled from 14 January 2013. All orders paid by online banking or cheque will also be processed and fulfilled from 14 January 2013.

We look forward to working with you again in 2013.

If you have an urgent enquiry requiring attention during our closedown period, please call 027 5612 822, and we will do our best to assist.

Debbie Chin
Chief Executive

Published in general.

<< Last month's article

Next month's article >>