The Building Code and compliance
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All building work in New Zealand must comply with the Building Code, which is the first schedule to the Building Regulations 1992.
The Building Code does not prescribe how work should be done but states, in general terms, how the completed building must perform in its intended use. The Building Code contains functional requirements and performance criteria that cover matters such as protection from fire, structural strength, moisture control and durability.
Building plans and specifications are assessed by building consent authorities (usually the local territorial authority) to ensure that the completed building work comply with the Building Code. When the building consent authority is satisfied, it will issue a building consent for the work to proceed.
The Building Code consists of two preliminary clauses and 37 technical clauses. Each technical clause, except for the 'C' Clauses for protection from fire, contains:
- Objectives - The social objective that completed building work must achieve
- Functional requirements - What the completed building work must do to satisfy the social objective
- Performance criteria - Qualitative or quantitative criteria with which buildings must comply in their intended use.
Clause C1 contains the Objectives for the Protection from Fire Clauses C2 to C6. Clauses C2 to C6 contain only Functional Requirements and Performances.
Building Code review
The Building Code was reviewed to align it with the 2004 Act.
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Role of Acceptable Solutions and Verifications Methods
Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods, relating to particular Building Code clauses, are produced by the MBIE to provide a means of establishing compliance with the Code. They provide information on materials, construction details and calculation methods that, if followed, must be accepted by a Building Consent Authority as complying with the related Building Code provisions.
Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods are only one way of complying with the Code and ‘alternative solutions’, as described below, can also be used.
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Role of alternative solutions
An alternative solution is a building design, of all or part of a building, which differs from the design or method in an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method but still complies with the Building Code. It can include a material, component or construction method that differs completely or partially from those described in an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method. An alternative solution must be evaluated and accepted by the Building Consent Authority when application is made for a building consent before it can be used.
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