Last updated: 21 March 2015
Flexibility is a key advantage of a performance-based Building Code. You are not required to use named products or designs. You can also benefit from developments and innovation in building design, technology and systems.
Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and alternative solutions
The Building Code states, in general terms, how the completed building must perform in its intended use. It does not tell you how to do it. You can demonstrate Building Code compliance through different means.
One means of demonstrating compliance is to follow an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method. MBIE publishes Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods, but it is not mandatory to use them.
Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods provide information about materials, construction details and calculation methods. If followed, they must be accepted by a BCA (usually the council) as complying with the related Building Code provisions.
- Acceptable Solutions – specific construction methods, some for simple residential buildings, that when followed are deemed to comply with the Building Code.
- Verification Methods – methods of testing, calculations and measurements that when followed are deemed to comply with the Building Code.
Many buildings, particularly more complex projects or renovations, rely on alternative solutions to demonstrate compliance with clauses of the Building Code. This is where all, or part, of the building design differs from an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method, and other means are used to show how building work still complies with the Building Code.
There are other paths that, if followed, must also be accepted by a BCA as showing how building work will comply with the Building Code.
Product certification is a voluntary scheme, under which we issue certificates to show that a building product or system meets the requirements of the Building Code. A certified product or construction method must be accepted by any BCA as complying with the Building Code, as long as it is used as specified.
NZS 4121 Design for Access and Mobility
BCAs must also accept building work that follows NZS 4121 Design for Access and Mobility - Buildings and Associated Facilities as complying with the Building Code. Section 119 of the Building Act 2004 specifies that NZS 4121 is to be taken as an Acceptable Solution.
New Zealand Standard NZS 4121:2001 – Design for access and mobility: buildings and associated facilities [PDF]
Energy work certificates show that certain electricity and gas work is carried out by qualified and licensed people, and also demonstrates compliance with the Building Code to BCAs.
BCAs must accept any determinations we make on a particular case as binding in relation to the rules that apply to buildings, how buildings are used, building accessibility, health and safety. The decisions they provide can be used by councils and others as a guide when faced with a similar problem, but it is important to note they are only binding for the case in question.