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Improvements To Building Code

Improvements to Building Code cover fire safety requirements, surface water drainage and waterproofing in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries

The latest changes to the Building Code will improve fire safety requirements, surface water drainage and waterproofing in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries, says Dave Robson, Manager of Building Performance and Engineering at MBIE.

The changes support high density housing, will make consenting easier, and ensure buildings are safe, healthy and durable.

“We are going ahead with the majority of changes proposed earlier in the year with some amendments, after receiving mainly positive feedback through the consultation process,” Mr Robson says.

“Gathering sector feedback through public consultation is a vital part of the Building Code update process. Based on the submissions we received, we have made improvements to our proposals, and reconsidered some aspects based on what we heard. This is all reflected in the decision document.

“We will be providing a new Acceptable Solution for the design and installation of stormwater drainage systems, providing more options to comply with the Building Code for surface water drainage. We are making it easier to determine rainfall intensities for specific locations by updating rainfall intensity maps.

“We are also introducing 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.

“Following feedback from the consultation, more work will be done around fire testing protocols for cladding systems for 10-25 metre high buildings, and firefighting operations.” In the meantime, MBIE has updated the Cladding Guidance document released in 2019 to align with the requirements in the Acceptable Solution and Verification Method.

The changes were originally part of the June 2020 Building Code update, however due to COVID-19 and late submissions, the publication date moved to November 2020.

The changes will come into effect 4 November 2021, a longer period than usual to line up with the new delivery model.

After this update, MBIE will be moving to annual updates of the Building Code. The next update published will be in November 2021.

“MBIE is committed to updating the Building Code so that it keeps pace with innovation, current construction methods and the needs of modern society. It provides clarity, consistency and certainty for the whole construction sector, including homeowners, designers, builders and building consent authorities,” Mr Robson says. The current focus of the Building Code update programme is to support densified housing.

More information on the changes is available on Building.govt.nz

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