Codewords Issue 84

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5 June 2018

In this issue:

Welcome to Codewords Issue 84

In the last issue I discussed the Building System Performance (BSP) branch work plan and the seven priority areas we are working toward. We are making progress on all priorities, but the top three on skills, consenting, and risk and liability have been a big focus for the branch in the first half of this year. This work will support KiwiBuild objectives and enhance the building regulatory system.

As part of the Construction Sector Skills Strategy project MBIE presented a draft action plan to Cabinet at the end of May. The Action Plan will build the capacity and capability of the sector, so that New Zealand has the construction workforce it needs now, and in the future.

A good consenting process is able to deliver consistency, clarity and certainty. Through our More Efficient Consenting project BSP is working to identify why the current process is not consistent, clear or certain for users and will be working with the sector to test options for improving the current process.

Risk in the building process is frequently cited as an area of concern amongst the sector. The aim of our Risk and Liability project is to rebalance risk and liability in the building process so that parties take appropriate responsibility for their work, building consent authorities are not driven to be over-cautious and are more open to innovation, and consumers are protected if things go wrong.

We’ve started to talk about these priorities with industry, including engaging with the Building Advisory Panel (BAP) when they met in mid-May. BSP sought the BAP’s feedback on work to date on the all three projects. They were supportive of the approach we are taking to the work and are eager to see rapid progress. Sub-groups of Panel members agreed to do further thinking to support our work on the Skills Strategy and the Risk and Liability project.

Enjoy this edition of Codewords.

Anna Butler

Anna Butler

GM, Building System Performance

Code and technical changes

The CodeMark product certification scheme in New Zealand and Australia

The CodeMark product certification scheme is a voluntary scheme that operates in Australia and New Zealand under separate legislation enacted by both countries. Each country has its own scheme rules, which are similar but do have some differences in detail.

Product certification bodies are accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) to issue CodeMark certificates. These certification bodies may be accredited to issue CodeMark certificates for compliance with the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC), the Building Code of Australia, or both, under the respective scheme rules.

Each CodeMark certificate relates only to compliance with either the NZBC, or the Building Code of Australia. Building products must be certified separately for each country due to differences in the building codes and regulatory systems.

New Zealand CodeMark certificates should explicitly state that the product complies with the NZBC and must reference all NZ Building Code clauses that the certificate applies to. If any relevant performance clauses are not covered by the certificate further evidence of compliance with these clauses should be sought from the manufacturer or supplier.

Under Section 19 of the Building Act 2004, a product certificate issued under the CodeMark scheme for New Zealand must be accepted by building consent authorities (BCAs) as evidence of compliance with the NZBC for the clauses it applies to. All conditions on the certificate need to be met and the proposed use of the product must be within the scope defined on the certificate.

Using products with Australian CodeMark certificates in New Zealand

Australian CodeMark certificates do not have automatic acceptance in New Zealand, so caution needs to be taken if these certificates are submitted as part of a building consent application.

Products assessed for certification under the Australian CodeMark scheme go through a similar process to those certified under the New Zealand scheme. There are differences between New Zealand's environmental and regulatory settings and those in Australia, and these differences would need to be considered.

A particular issue for products originating from outside of New Zealand is that terminology used to explain technical information about the product may be inconsistent with that used in New Zealand. The technical information may not be sufficiently clear for designers, installers, and the BCA's processing and inspection officers.

BCAs can, at their discretion, place some reliance on an Australian CodeMark certificate when processing building consent applications, but would still need to be satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that compliance with the NZBC has been demonstrated for the particular situation.

If the supplier of an Australian CodeMark certificate provides any evidence of a product's performance, designers and BCAs may be able to consider that evidence and its suitability for the New Zealand context in which the product is proposed to be used. Evidence of performance might include the results of relevant tests undertaken by recognised laboratories, and appraisals or assessments from experts.

If supporting evidence is not available, designers and BCAs may need to question the suitability of the product, particularly if the product is complex, new to the market, or if the Australian Building Code clauses referenced on the certificate are not directly relatable to the performance requirements of the NZBC.

CodeMark as a product certification scheme

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Do more business for less work with the NZBN

Using the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) means you can update key business information, such as a new phone number, and not have to worry about letting all your business contacts know.

The NZBN is a unique identifier for every business in New Zealand, designed to make it faster and easier for businesses to interact and transact with each other, and with government.

Key information about each business is held on the NZBN Register. By connecting to the NZBN, users are notified as soon as one of the organisations they work with updates their information. It's instant, it’s online, and using the NZBN Register is free.

There are several tools available to NZBN users:

  • Get started with data matching
    The free data matching service makes it easy to keep track of businesses you work with. The NZBN team can take a list of your customers/suppliers and match these securely to their NZBNs. Being able to uniquely identify each business reduces duplicate records in your systems, reduces risk and offers you more certainty about your business networks.
  • Watchlists and alerts
    You can create an online ‘watchlist’ for the businesses you engage with and receive email alerts when they change key information (like a phone number or contact email address).
  • Connect via the API
    The Application Programming Interface (API) is a useful tool for managing information if you have a large number of businesses in your network. Linking your digital systems to the NZBN API can simplify processes such as loading new customer or supplier information. The API pulls information from the NZBN Register about your new customer so they won’t have to manually enter basic information like their address and phone number.

It's the future of business

The NZBN will create a transactional environment with greater certainty of identity, more reliable information and less duplication. Connecting to the NZBN will save your business time and money, because you can get the right information, about the right organisations, at the right time.

To get started call 0508 696 926 or visit

How the construction industry is saving time with the NZBN on the NZBN website tells you about ways the NZBN is helping Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers and the Brick and Blocklayers Federations save time and get back to the job at hand.

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When is a structure a vehicle or building?

MBIE has issued several determinations in recent years relating to whether a structure is a vehicle or a building under the Building Act.

Is it a vehicle?

Section 8 of the Building Act considers the meaning of a building. Section 8(1)(b)(iii) states a building includes "a vehicle or motor vehicle (including a vehicle or motor vehicle as defined in section 2(1) of the Land Transport Act 1998) that is immovable and is occupied by people on a permanent or long-term basis."

'Vehicle' and 'motor vehicle' are not defined in the Building Act. To establish whether something is a vehicle, the following definitions should be considered:

  • the dictionary definition (natural and ordinary) meaning:
    • a thing with a primary purpose of transporting people or goods
    • powered by some form of combustion or self-propulsion.
  • 'vehicle' or 'motor vehicle' as defined in section 2(1) of Land Transport Act 1998:
    • Vehicle – (a) means a contrivance equipped with wheels, tracks, or revolving runners on which it moves or is moved...
    • Motor vehicle – (a) means a vehicle drawn or propelled by mechanical power, and (b) includes a trailer...
    (Note: this is not an extensive list of Land Transport Act definitions)

Just because a structure has some vehicle-like features, such as wheels, doesn’t necessarily make it a vehicle under the Building Act. The distinction between a building that is movable, and a vehicle, is that a vehicle is used for transporting people or goods, or must be powered by some form of combustion or self-propelled.

Recent determinations have considered whether the following structures were vehicles or buildings:

  • a shepherd's hut with wheels and tow bar
  • a shed registered as a trailer under the Land Transport Act
  • a structure with wheels
  • a structure previously fitted with wheels.

The determinations found the structures had some features of vehicles, such as wheels, and could be moved on-site, but had very few other characteristics in common with vehicles (eg suspension, chassis, brakes, lights). The structures weren’t used for transporting people or goods, and weren't road vehicles powered by internal combustion engines or self-propelled. Generally, there was no evidence of the structures being used as vehicles.

Is it a building?

If a structure isn't a vehicle, the test for whether it is a building falls within the general definition of a building set out in section 8(1)(a) of the Act. Under this definition, "building" means "a temporary or permanent moveable or immovable structure..."

The examples above were all considered to be moveable structures, and not vehicles. This means they were buildings under the Building Act, and needed to comply with the requirements of the Act and Building Code.

When is a vehicle also a building? 

If a structure is a vehicle, it can still be considered a building under the Building Act if it is "immovable" and "occupied by people on a permanent or long-term basis."

Caravans or mobile homes are vehicles used as accommodation. However, they are clearly designed to move on roads and are generally moved from site to site. A vehicle such as a caravan or mobile home would only be considered a building if it were both immovable and occupied permanently or on a long-term basis.

If the structure doesn't meet both of these criteria, it will not be a building as set out in section 8(1)(b)(iii). Determination 2016/011 outlines the criteria to consider whether a vehicle is immovable.

Relevant determinations:

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LBP knowledge link

LBP Registrar update (Codewords 84)

I hope everyone has had a great first quarter of the year.

In this edition, our first LBP article provides some useful tips for saddle flashings at balustrade-to-wall junctions. This detail can be one of the trickier weathertightness details to design or install so it is important to get it right.

Saddle flashings to enclosed balustrade-to-wall junctions 

Our second article relates to screw-type anchors used for fixing bottom plates. This article provides some technical tips and details for better selection and installation of bottom plate anchors.

Screw-type anchors for fixing bottom plates

Following publication of the March issue of Codewords, we received feedback about the article ‘Timber-framing and foundation pointers’. Based on that feedback we have provided further clarification in that article about the size limits for holes and notches in studs and joists.

Codewords 83 has the updated article.

Getting your thoughts on our articles is great – feel free to let us know what you’re thinking, or what you’d like to see articles on.

As we head into what may be a rough and surprising winter, judging by the last few weeks, make sure that you stay safe in these changing conditions. Having a set of wet and cold weather gear is a must in winter, and a hot drink at smoko can really make a difference.

Thanks for reading – until next time,

Paul Hobbs
Registrar Building Practitioner Licensing

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Screw-type anchors for fixing bottom plates

Anchors that fix bottom plates to concrete slab-on-ground floors are an essential component of timber frame construction as they secure the upper building structure to the foundation.

Article is relevant to LBP licence classes: Carpentry, Foundations

They must be able to withstand forces in three directions – uplift (tension), along the wall (in-plane shear), and across the wall (out-of-plane shear).

Two options for fixing bottom plates

Section 7 of NZS 3604:2011 Timber-framed buildings provides two options for fixing bottom plates to concrete floor slabs:

  • cast-in anchors consisting of M12 bolts that are cast into the concrete and either 50 x 50 x 3 mm square washers or 55 x 3 mm round washers
  • tested proprietary anchors that are inserted in the concrete once it has sufficiently cured.

A range of proprietary anchors are available, including anchors screwed into pre-drilled holes, anchors chemically grouted into pre-drilled holes, and expanding or wedge anchors.

The focus here is on screw-type anchors inserted into pre-drilled holes.

Anchors screwed into pre-drilled holes

Screw-type anchors were initially designed as removable fasteners for fixing plant and machinery to concrete walls and floors. In residential and commercial construction they have become a popular option when inserted into pre-drilled holes, for fixing timber bottom plates to concrete floor slabs.

Screw-type anchors offer some advantages over other types of proprietary anchors as they are:

  • quick and easy to install – drill a hole in the correct location in the concrete floor, align the timber framing and install the screw anchor using either a power driver or manual socket or wrench
  • easily removed
  • less likely to cause damage to the concrete as they do not have an expanding wedge or sleeve that applies an expansion force.

A few things to consider

There are some considerations if you are going to install screw-type anchors into concrete foundations:

1. Have the anchors been tested to demonstrate they have the required capacity to meet NZS 3604:2011?

Anchor capacity must meet the performance criteria for external and internal walls described in NZS 3604: 2011 paragraphs and These are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Minimum holding capacities for proprietary anchors

Type of forceCapacity (kN)
External walls Horizontal in-plane (along wall) 2
  Horizontal out-of-plane (across wall) 3
  Vertical (uplift) 7
Internal walls Horizontal in-plane (along wall) 2
  Horizontal out-of-plane (across wall) 2

2. Can screw-type anchors be used to hold down walls containing bracing?

Proprietary anchors may be used as hold-downs for walls containing bracing but require additional uplift capacity depending on the bracing unit (BU) ratings:

  • 150 BUs/m – 15 kN uplift fixings
  • 120 BUs/m – 12 kN uplift fixings.

Proprietary anchors should also have test results to demonstrate that they meet the NZS 3604:2011 requirements for their intended use.

3. Can adequate cover to the anchor be achieved, particularly in exposure zone D (as described in NZS 3604:2011)?

Figures 1 and 2 provide two details for how the maximum cover can be achieved.

Figure 1: Formed concrete foundation.


Figure 2: Concrete masonry header block foundation.

Edge distances and spacings

NZS 3604:2011 does not give edge distance dimensions for proprietary anchors as the dimensions depend on the particular product and the slab edge detail, frame width, concrete strength and load.

Anchor spacings for proprietary anchors are given in the Standard as:

  • 900 mm centres maximum for in-situ concrete floor slabs
  • 600 mm centres maximum where the slab edges are formed using concrete masonry header blocks
  • no more than 150 mm from each end of every plate.

Durability depends on use

The protection required for all structural fixings for all zones in closed environments may be mild steel (ie uncoated and non-galvanised) in accordance with NZS 3604:2011 Table 4.1. However, the Standard states that where fixings are into timber treated with a copper-based preservative, the fixings in closed environments should be at least hot-dipped galvanised steel.


1. Proprietary anchors fixing bottom plates can be:

a. cast into concrete floor slabs
b. inserted into the concrete once it has cured

2. Which of the following is true for screw-type anchors?:

a. They need to be correctly located before installation
b. They need to be installed before the slab has been cast
c. They place no expansion stress on the concrete

3. Proprietary anchors used to hold down brace walls with 150 BUs/m must have uplift resistance capacity of:

a. 9 kN
b. 12 kN
c. 15 kN
d. 20 kN

4. Edge distances for proprietary anchors in NZS 3604:2011 are:

a. 50 mm minimum
b. 65 mm minimum
c. no dimension is given, as the dimension will depend on several factors

Check answers

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Saddle flashings to enclosed balustrade-to-wall junctions

One of the trickiest flashing details to design and construct correctly is a balustrade-to-wall junction flashing. This article gives a quick overview of this detail and provides some useful tips and other step-by-step information on how to correctly install this type of flashing.

Article is relevant to LBP licence classes: Carpentry, Design

The junction where the capping of an enclosed balustrade meets the face of the main exterior wall of a building – typically at the end of a deck – is a high-risk location for weathertightness failure.

Where a metal cap flashing is used along the top of the balustrade, designs to Acceptable Solution E2/AS1 require a fabricated metal saddle flashing to make these junctions weathertight. However, the metal saddle flashings must be positioned correctly to ensure the junctions are weathertight.

Different saddle flashing at front of cavity

Figure 12 of E2/AS1 requires these saddle flashings to be positioned at the front of the cavity (immediately behind the outer cladding) – see NOTE (1) and detail (c) in the drawing below. Placing these flashings at the front of the cavity reduces the likelihood of water entering the cavity where the flashing passes through it.

Importantly, this approach is different to most other cavity flashing details in E2/AS1. The narrow width of the balustrade means that only a very small volume of water could enter the cavity of the main wall above, so a different approach is acceptable. Any such water will instead run down to the flexible flashing tape where the sloped packer meets the main wall underlay, then be diverted to the adjacent cavity beside the balustrade, and eventually drain out its base.

Getting it right

E2/AS1 has several specific requirements for parapets and enclosed balustrades:

  • No penetrations are allowed in the top surfaces of parapets and enclosed balustrade walls. Where rails are required on balustrades, they must be side-fixed through the cladding into the framing as per E2/AS1 Figure 19 (on page 58 of the E2/AS1 document).
  • The sides of cappings must overlap the cladding on both sides as per E2/AS1 Table 7 (on page 40 of E2/AS1) situation 2 or 3:
    • 70 mm plus kick-out (or bird’s beak for inside edge of enclosed balustrades as per E2/AS1Figure 5 on page 38) for low, medium, high and very high wind zones
    • 90 mm plus kick-out or bird’s beak for extra high wind zone.
  • All claddings on parapets and enclosed balustrades must be installed over drained cavities, except vertical corrugated steel
  • In extra high wind zones, all claddings must be installed over a rigid wall underlay, consisting of minimum 7 mm H3 treated plywood or 6 mm fibre-cement sheet.

E2/AS1 has more information.

General junction of parapet and enclosed balustrade to wall

More detail in flashings supplement

BRANZ has published step-by-step diagrams showing the installation sequence for the components to these junctions in its recent Build magazine flashings supplement.

Build flashings supplement is available to read at Build magazine's website.

As with the installation of any flashing, sequencing of installation steps is key to a good outcome. The balustrade-to-wall junction can be found in section 4.5 of BRANZ's Build flashings supplement.
This key resource provides a comprehensive overview of construction sequencing for most common residential flashing applications, and explains the installation process.


1. What is the minimum slope allowed by E2/AS1 for the top of a metal saddle flashing to a parapet or enclosed balustrade?

A. 15 degrees
B. 5 degrees
C. Depends on the wind zone and average rainfall at location

2. Using E2/AS1, can you penetrate the upper surface of a parapet or enclosed balustrade saddle flashing?

A. No
B. Yes, but it depends on the wind zone
C. Sometimes
D. Only if the homeowner signs a disclaimer

3. What cover is required by E2/AS1 for the sides of a saddle flashing in a VH wind zone?

A. 70mm
B. 25mm
C. 90mm

Check answers

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Taupo entrepreneur and LBP

A career spanning 35 years has given Ian Chamberlain a strong belief in quality, consistency and fairness for all.

Ian Chamberlain profile picture

Ian has owned a carpentry and joinery company in Taupo for the last 13 years. It’s a role that keeps him busy – managing the day-to-day running of the business includes quoting and ordering materials, talking to customers, organising staff and sub-trades, and overseeing health and safety and the company’s jobs generally. 

Ian completed his apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery in the UK, where he became a subcontractor, before moving to New Zealand and setting up his own company in Taupo. 

A typical day for Ian starts in the office dealing with paperwork and emails, and organising materials and deliveries for the day’s jobs. However, it’s the time spent meeting with customers that is one of his favourite parts of the job. 

“I really enjoy engaging with my clients, and that’s why even during the business boom I’ve kept my company small. I want to be able to personally engage with all my clients and, of course, ensure a high standard of work for them.” 

Ian still enjoys his career just as much as he did when he first started 35 years ago. He’s been an LBP since 2011 and holds Carpentry and Site 2 licences. 

“I believe that being an LBP is a necessary requirement for doing business in the building industry these days so I encourage others to consider joining the scheme if they’re interested in this part of the job. 

“I’d also encourage joining building organisations to help with other business needs you may need upskilling on.”

Ian is well respected in the business community and as an authority in construction, holding the position of chairman of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty branch of the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ).

“I hold voluntary positions within several areas to develop the industry and seek better outcomes for both those working in the industry and for consumers.”

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Notable decisions against three LBPs

The Building Practitioners Board (the Board) recently handed down significant sanctions after complaints against a Christchurch-based LBP and two Hamilton-based LBPs. The Board has chosen to publish the details of the matters due to their seriousness and the strong penalties.

The first complaint was made against Ronald Carmichael (C2-01688).

The second and third complaints were against Zi Xiang Lin, alias Jiew Chong (C2-01720), and Steven Morrow (C2-01666), who both have prior criminal convictions and had been imprisoned for a period exceeding six months. These convictions affected their fitness to carry out building work and brought the LBP scheme into disrepute.

While the nature of the three complaints differ, it is important that LBPs are aware of the consequences and avoid similar outcomes.

Ronald Carmichael (C2-01688)

Mr Carmichael, based in Christchurch, held a Carpentry licence and was found to have:

  • carried out building work in a negligent or incompetent manner
  • failed to provide a record of work as required by the Building Act
  • acted in a manner that would bring the LBP scheme into disrepute.

Mr Carmichael was engaged by the homeowner to build a new dwelling. Mr Carmichael's quote for the build was incorrect, which meant the build costs were $100,000 above the contract price. Mr Carmichael was negligent in failing to correctly read and interpret the plans and to price the project based on the actual size of the dwelling and the materials required.

The homeowner stated that she had not received a record of work from Mr Carmichael and that he had refused to provide one. The territorial authority did not receive a copy, despite Mr Carmichael's claims.

Mr Carmichael also did not meet the requirements of Part 4A of the Building Act 2004 in relation to contracts for building work. Variations (described as 'extras') were not dealt with in accordance of the legislative requirements. Mr Carmichael took a cavalier approach to pricing, failed to keep the homeowner informed and took advantage of the homeowner’s assumed ability to pay.

The Board cancelled Mr Carmichael's licence with a stand-down period of 24 months before he can reapply. The Board ordered Mr Carmichael to pay some costs towards the inquiry and advised that this decision would be published.

Jiew Chong (C2-01720)

Mr Chong, based in Hamilton, held a Brick and Blocklaying licence and was found to have:

  • been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for six months or more that reflects adversely on his fitness to carry out building work
  • made a false and misleading declaration for the purpose of becoming licensed
  • acted in a manner that would bring the LBP scheme into disrepute.

The Board considered the dishonesty offences Mr Chong was convicted of to be serious and would affect public confidence and his fitness to carry out or supervise building work.

Mr Chong was also found to have used a false name and identity and made a false declaration in order to obtain his LBP licence.

As Mr Chong was convicted of a serious criminal offence involving deliberate deceit, behaviour that continued when he sought an LBP licence, the Board established that he had also brought the LBP scheme into disrepute.

The Board cancelled Mr Chong's licence, with a stand-down period of five years before he can reapply for licensing. The Board also ordered Mr Chong to pay some costs towards the inquiry and advised that this decision would be published.

Steven Morrow (C2-01666)

Mr Morrow, based in Hamilton, held Carpentry and Foundations licences and was found to have:

  • been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for six months or more that reflects adversely on his fitness to carry out building work
  • acted in a manner that would bring the LBP scheme into disrepute.

Mr Morrow had been convicted of offences under the Tax Administration Act and imprisoned for two years. The Board determined that carrying out or supervising building work is an undertaking that often involves handling client funds or entering into credit arrangements and as such there is a link between the nature of the charges and Mr Morrow's fitness to be licensed.

The Board also determined that the offending was serious, prolonged and designed to benefit Mr Morrow. He made false claims regarding his innocence and his general conduct in relation to the offending has been disreputable. The Board accordingly found he has brought the LBP scheme into disrepute.

The Board cancelled Mr Morrow's licences, with a stand-down period of three years before he can reapply. The Board also ordered Mr Morrow to pay some costs towards the inquiry and advised him that this decision would be published.

Key learnings

Understanding your regulatory and contractual obligations is key. Ensuring that there is a written contract for work that costs $30,000 or more (including GST) and the required documents are provided before starting building work is a requirement by law.

NZS 3902:2004 is a standard building contract you can use for clients/home owners who engage you to build their house, or undertake simple building work or alterations. MBIE has sponsored access for anyone to view and print NZS 3902:2004 (housing, alterations and small buildings contract) at no charge.

NZS 3902:2004 is available on the Standards New Zealand website.

Why contracts are valuable has more information.

How you conduct yourself is important. If you are convicted of certain offences that reflect adversely on your fitness to hold a licence, you could be subject to discipline including your licence being cancelled. It does not matter if the offending was before you became licensed.

Being honest on your licence application and in your business decisions is important – not only for your reputation and that of your business, but also to maintain your licence.

The LBP website has full details on these and other past decisions.

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Recent determinations

Determination 2018/007 – Summary

Determination 2018/007 discusses the compliance of a door threshold to a school gym where there's a change of level.


The building consent authority (BCA) received a building consent application for a new gym and learning centre for a school.

The proposal included two different designs for door thresholds – one level and one with a 20 mm change in level. Out of the six entrances, three entrances were to include the 20 mm change in level and three entrances were to be level. The level entrances included the main entry to the gym and were all underneath a canopy. The other three entrances were not covered by a canopy and were designed to have a 20 mm change in level to prevent water entering.

Issues arose between the BCA and the designer regarding the door threshold design with the 20 mm change in level. The BCA believed the 20 mm change in level did not comply with the accessibility requirements of Clause D1 or escape route requirements of Clause C4. The BCA believed the building could be designed so the change in level wasn't required.


The determination considered compliance of this door threshold design with Clauses D1 Access Routes, C4 Movement to a place of safety, and E2 External moisture. It noted the BCA had incorrectly tested the design against its own view of best practice for accessible entranceways, rather than the relevant performance requirements of the Building Code. Building work is not required to achieve performance criteria additional to the criteria prescribed in the Building Code (refer section 18(1) of the Act).

The determination assessed the door threshold design against relevant Acceptable Solutions. Under section 19, Acceptable Solutions are deemed to comply with the Building Code. A BCA must accept a design as compliant when it satisfies an Acceptable Solution.

The three entrances containing the 20 mm level change weren’t required to be accessible, meaning D1/AS1 was the applicable Acceptable Solution. D1/AS1 allows for 'threshold weather stops' provided they are 20 mm or less in height, although it acknowledges height changes at entrances are inconvenient for wheelchair users.

The determination considered the term ‘weather stop’ as used in both D1/AS1 and NZS 4121, 'stepped thresholds' as used in NZS 4121 and 'isolated step' as used in D1/AS1.

The determination considers a weather stop to be a building element that is raised above the level of the outside surface to stop water entering the building. Weather stops are often included in the design of doorsets, projecting above adjacent surfaces, and only used in regard to external doors.

In NZS4121, a stepped threshold is considered as a change in level where one side of a threshold is higher than the other. In D1/AS1 an isolated step is used to describe a change of level.

The determination took the view that D1/AS1 doesn't stop the use of a stepped threshold from being incorporated into the design of a weather stop.

The use of a stepped threshold or projection to prevent water entering a building will have an impact on accessibility. However, NZS 4121 and D1/AS1 acknowledge this, and allow a 20 mm change in level as it will still provide an adequate accessible entrance.

The door threshold design satisfied D1/AS1 and therefore was deemed to comply with Clause D1. The determination also found the design satisfied C/AS1 and E2/AS1.

The decision

The design satisfied D1/AS1, C/AS4, and E2/AS1 and therefore complied with the Building Code.

Determination 2018/007 in full.

Previous determinations is a register of all previous determinations.

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Determination 2018/008 – Summary

Determination 2018/008 considers when a building must have accessible car parking.


The building consent authority (BCA) received an application for a building consent for an apartment building. The proposed building had two commercial tenancies on the ground floor and seven levels of apartments.

The building included mechanically stacked car parking for residents of the apartment but no designated car parking for the commercial tenancies. To meet Clause D1 requirements, it was proposed the council-owned accessible car parking in an adjacent lot could provide the accessible car parks for the commercial tenancies.

The BCA believed this proposal did not comply with Clause D1 and refused to issue the building consent.


Section 118 of the Building Act (the Act) sets out the requirement for 'reasonable and adequate' access for people with disabilities who are expected to visit or work, and carry out normal activities and processes in a building. Clause A2 of the Building Code defines adequate as "adequate to achieve the objectives of the Building Code".

NZS 4121, an Acceptable Solution under section 119 of the Act, allows for council-owned car parking to be used to meet the requirement for accessible car parking, provided the car parks are connected to the site or building by an accessible route. Therefore, where car parking is not provided for in the building or on the site, council-owned car parking can be used to comply with section 118.

Section 118 does not require accessible car parking within every building or site that triggers section 118 requirements, rather reasonable and adequate provision for accessible parking is required. For example, dairies and cafes are required to comply with section 118, but in some instances it would not be practical and/or possible to incorporate car parking. In some cases, what is considered reasonable and adequate provision may include nearby publically available accessible car parking.

However, in this case the building had designated parking for the use of residents, but not for the commercial tenancies. Having car parking for residents only doesn't itself trigger section 118. However, this doesn’t remove the section 118 requirements that relate to the building as a whole, because of the commercial tenancies.

The determination carried out an assessment of whether using council-owned car parking was reasonable and adequate. A number of factors were considered, including the relatively small area of the commercial tenancies in comparison to residential floor area, the size of the site and the building's footprint, and the proximity of accessible car parking in an adjacent site.

The decision

The proposed building with no accessible car parks complied to the extent required by section 118 of the Act as there was access to adjacent council-owned publicly accessible car parks. The BCA was therefore incorrect to refuse to issue the building consent.

Each determination is made on a case-by-case basis. So, while this parking arrangement was established as compliant it doesn't necessarily mean the same parking arrangement will comply in another situation.

Determination 2018/008 in full.

Previous determinations is a register of all previous determinations.

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Previous issues

About Codewords: Our Codewords newsletter is published six times a year. It will keep you up to date on the latest regulatory and related information for the building and construction industry.

Codewords issues are available for two years after their publish date. If the issue you are looking for is older, please contact us.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: