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Proposed Improvements To Building Code

Consultation has opened on proposed amendments to the Building Code, which focus on fire safety requirements, surface water drainage and waterproofing in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) consults on the Building Code biannually, with these amendments published in June 2020.

“MBIE is committed to updating the Building Code so that it keeps pace with innovation, current construction methods and the needs of modern society. The current focus of the Building Code update programme is to support densified housing. These consultation periods are the sector’s opportunity to have their say and help shape the future of New Zealand’s building safety,” says Dave Robson, Manager Building Performance and Engineering at MBIE.

“The proposed amendments for the June 2020 update focus on three areas. We want to increase clarity and consistency around fire safety requirements. This includes improving building features for firefighter operations in emergencies to better align with current Fire and Emergency New Zealand procedures and equipment. We are also proposing to amend fire testing requirements for cladding systems, so international fire test methods can be considered.

“We are proposing a new Acceptable Solution for the design and installation of stormwater drainage systems, which will provide more options to comply with the Building Code for surface water drainage. We also want to make it easier to determine rainfall intensities for specific locations.

“The third area is to provide a new Acceptable Solution for waterproofing in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries by referencing the Waterproofing Membrane Association code of practice for Internal Wet-area Membrane Systems.

“Proposed amendments support high density housing, will make consenting easier, and ensure buildings are safe, healthy and durable.

“Engineers, architects, developers, building consent authorities and those looking to build a home would be impacted by these amendments, so I encourage them to take some time to let us know their thoughts,” Mr Robson says.

Consultation on the proposed amendments to the Building Code runs from 17 February to 27 March 2020.

Submissions can be made on the MBIE website.

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