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Building Code and handbooks

Last updated: 21 March 2016

The Building Code sets performance standards for all New Zealand building work. This section tells you how to access the Building Code and get copies of the handbook.

The Building Code is contained in Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 1992. It sets the performance standards that all building work must meet, even if it doesn't need a building consent.

It covers aspects such as structural stability, fire safety, access, moisture control, durability, services and facilities, and energy efficiency.

It sets the minimum standards building work must perform to, but not how to meet them. You cannot do less than the minimum standards, but you can exceed them.

In other words, the Building Code is performance-based. It states how a building must perform in its intended use rather than describing how the building must be designed and constructed.

An advantage of a performance-based Building Code is flexibility. This allows developments and innovation in building design, technology and systems.

As a property owner you can choose your designs, products or building methods, as long as your building consent application demonstrates that your proposal meets Building Code requirements. For example, the Building Code specifies how much natural light there must be in a bedroom but not how you must achieve that natural light. Your designs need to show how you would meet that requirement.

How the Building Code works sets out an overview of how it is structured.

Different ways to comply provides an introduction to Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and other ways you can show how your plans will comply with the Building Code.

Get a copy of the Building Code

The Building Code is also reproduced in the New Zealand Building Code Handbook, which you can view or download. It provides an overview of the regulatory framework, Building Code, core definitions, publications referenced, and an index of the Building Code, Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods by building element or aspect. It is produced by MBIE.

View the New Zealand Building Code handbook

We also produce a Compliance schedule handbook. 

Keep up to date with changes

From time to time the Building Code is amended.

Record of amendments is a record of changes to the Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and handbooks.

When we make changes to the Building Code or to the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods, we undertake consultation first. You can keep up to date with any consultations or amendments by signing up for our news and updates.

Keep up to date

To find out about changes and consultations relating to the Building Code.

Visit the MBIE Corporate website

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: