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Technical guidance

This information is issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and is provided to assist Building Consent Authorities, building owners, designers and persons who carry out building work. It does not have the ‘deemed to comply’ status accorded to Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods by the Building Act 2004 and is not intended as a means of establishing compliance with the Building Act or Building Code.

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Guidance developed by MBIE

Joint MBIE/NZGS Guidance: Module 5A of the ‘Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Practice’ series “Specification of ground improvement for residential properties in the Canterbury region” - October 2015
This document has been released under s 175 of the Building Act to assist in specifying ground improvement work for residential properties in Canterbury. This version is issued for public comment and NZGS members are encouraged to incorporate these specifications into their construction contracts.

Updated guidance: Building work that does not require a building consent - 19 March 2014
Schedule 1 details the type of work that does not require a building consent. It clarifies the types of building work that are exempt and who can carry out this work. In November 2013, Schedule 1 of the Building Act was amended to make the exemptions easier to use.

Step-by-step video guides for builders - 11 March 2014
These video guides help you to repair, re-level or restore floor structures in earthquake-damaged houses ‘right first time’. They are especially useful for builders working in Canterbury. Watch the videos.

Guidance: Requesting information about means of escape from fire for existing buildings - 19 December 2013
Guide to help BCAs or TAs decide what information on means of escape from fire to request, as part of a building consent application to alter an existing building. Included are practical tools to help establish the level of information needed.

Guidance: Achieving NZBC Group Numbers for surface finishes from tests to overseas Standards - March 2015 Guidance on The New Zealand the Building Code (NZBC) requirements for internal surface finishes.

Guidance: External Moisture – a guide to using the Risk Matrix - July 2013
This guidance has been updated to include the changes made to the risk matrix in E2/AS1, effective August 2011. It provides worked examples and outlines approved claddings for each wind zone and where drained cavities are required.

Guidance: Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes
This guidance is issued under section 175 of the Building Act, and supersedes all earlier versions. It provides robust and well-balanced engineering solutions for repairing and rebuilding earthquake-damaged houses in the Canterbury region.

Building in the Canterbury Green Zone: Two quick guides for builders
These guides give a quick overview of requirements for building in the Canterbury Green Zone. They briefly outline regulatory requirements and highlight special issues.

Guidance to assist the development of temporary accommodation to house workers in greater Christchurch - September 2012
The guidance assists the design and construction of temporary worker accommodation in the context of the greater Christchurch rebuild. 

Site Applied Timber Treatment: Summary of research carried out by Scion  - June 2012
The Department of Building and Housing (now part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) commissioned Scion to carry out research into the efficacy of two site applied brush on preservative treatments for timber. The research involved:  

  • Testing the effectiveness of boron glycol and copper naphthenate applied on 1, 2, 3 and 4 faces of timber infected with two types of decay
  • Investigating a technique to get preservative to hidden surfaces between adjacent timber members

Guidance on reinforcement for concrete slabs-on-ground - Amended April 2012
Guidance on a satisfactory solution option for the reinforcing steel mesh specified in the Acceptable Solution B1/AS1.

Guidance on Barrier Design - November 2011
Guidance information on how to achieve the relevant Building Code performance criteria for barriers. It provides recommendations for the design and construction of permanent barriers that are required in and around buildings.

Guidelines for Documenting Fire Safety Designs - September 2011
This guidance is about how fire design should be communicated and documented, including evidence of design methodology. Good quality design documentation makes building consent processes easier for both designers and Building Consent Authorities.

Immediate changes to seismicity and foundation details for Christchurch - Amended August 2011
Information on increasing the seismic hazard factor for Canterbury and requiring stronger foundations for buildings through immediate changes to the Building Code Structure documents. The main topics it covers are:

  • Changes to Structure verification method B1/VM1
  • Changes to Structure Acceptable Solutions B1/AS1 and B1/AS3

Guidance on Building Code compliance for retrofitting insulation in external walls - August 2011
Guidance on Building Code and Building Act 2004 requirements relating to retrofitting insulation in exterior walls. It explains why a building consent is required, how to show work complies with the Building Act and Building Code and the risks with retrofitting wall insulation.

Guidance on using NZS3604 construction on ground with potential for liquefaction, outside Canterbury region - August 2011
Guidance information for those building outside Canterbury to NZS 3604:2011 construction where there may be potential for liquefiable soils, and who may choose to use foundation details even more robust than those provided by the Acceptable Solution B1/AS1.

A quick guide to timber treatment for enclosed framing - Pink is Tough - April 2011
Timber treatment in Acceptable Solution B2/AS1 has changed to a new, simpler system. The timber treatment hazard class H1.2 is now required for radiata pine and Douglas fir timber in buildings, where it is protected from the weather (ie, enclosed timber framing).

Using the Product Assurance Framework to support Building Code compliance. A guide for manufacturers and suppliers of building products - April 2010
Manufacturers and suppliers of building products are assisted by a clear system to demonstrate that their products are fit for purpose in New Zealand conditions.

Download the Solar Water Heating Guidance Document (for installers, suppliers and building consent authorities) [PDF 1.29 MB, 38 pages] - December 2009
This Guidance is intended to be read in conjunction with Acceptable Solution G12/AS2.

Guidelines for energy efficient HVAC plant - January 2009
Provides guidance on the appropriate energy efficiency measures for HVAC systems in commercial buildings.

Guidance for non load–bearing issues- December 2008
This document provides guidance for building consent authorities (BCAs) on how to check whether appropriate timber has been used in buildings for compliance with Building Code Clause B1 Structure.

Quick guide - Building code requirements: house insulation - October 2008
Simple ways to comply with house insulation requirements in the Building Code. 

Guidance for complying with new energy efficiency requirements for houses in Northland - October 2008
Guidance information on how new houses in Northland can comply with the energy efficiency provisions of thee building code. In particular, it highlights that new houses may not require double glazing when the BPI (Building Performance Index) is used to show compliance with NZBC clause H1

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Practice advisories

Practice advisories are published under section 175 of the Building Act 2004.

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Industry codes of practice

The Ministry also encourages industry groups to create their own guidance and codes of practice for the use of their products, to complement the Ministry’s Compliance Documents. Below are some examples developed by industry:

Code of practice for Weathertight concrete and concrete masonry constructionLink to the CCANZ website. - August 2011
The Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) Code of Practice provides weathertightness solutions for concrete and concrete masonry buildings. The Building Code clause External Moisture, has an Acceptable Solution (E2/AS3) that references this Code of Practice.

Code of practice for torch-on membranes systems for roofs and desksLink to the Membrane Group NZ  website. - October 2008
The Code of Practice presents guidance for the selection, design and installation of modified reinforced bituminous materials.

The New Zealand metal roof and wall cladding code of practiceLink to NZ Metal Roofing Manufacturers website. - April 2008
The Code of Practice presents guidance on the selection, design and installation of metal roofing and wall cladding systems.

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