Why do I need to know about Building codes?
If you're building or looking to build or renovate this year, it's incredibly important that you're well briefed on your local Building Code. A Building Code's purpose is to set clear expectations of the standards buildings should meet. It covers aspects such as structural stability, durability, protection from fire, access, moisture control, services and facilities, and energy efficiency. These codes reduce casualties, costs and damage by creating stronger buildings designed to withstand disasters.
One of the best ways to safeguard NZ communities against natural disasters is to adopt and follow up-to-date hazard-resistant building codes. Building codes are the minimum design and construction requirements to ensure safe and resilient structures.
Image: Jennian Homes, Manawatu
Are you aware of the November 1st 2021 Building Code change concerning flooring, including Kitchens?
Qu: I am Building/Renovating - what is the recent Code change I need to be aware of?
Ans: The E3/AS1 Internal Moisture Code Change involving flooring in all wet areas, now including kitchens.
As from the 5th of November 2021 the acceptable solution E3/AS1 for internal moisture no longer allows for timber-based or overlay flooring in areas that contain sanitary fixtures or sanitary appliances including:
• Any other wet area that includes a basin, tap, toilet or sink.
Read the full code for compliance HERE >>> We discuss why compliance is so necessary and the regulatory organisations below to assist you in achieving a stress-free consent, below.
Building Codes protect you
Building codes protect you from a wide range of hazards – whether it is by implementing safe wiring, fire prevention, or stronger structural integrity. When a community has up-to-date building codes in place, they are more protected against these hazards.
Building Codes work
In the study Building Codes Save, an analysis shows that, over a 20-year period, cities and counties with modern building codes have avoided at least $132 billion in losses from natural disasters. This is based on a comparison of jurisdictions without modern building codes. In addition, to the money saved, property damage is reduced. This means that immeasurable losses are also avoided, such as the stress of temporary relocation, lost income, and community disruption.
Building Codes are always improving and updating as required
You can trust that a building built to the latest codes are keeping up with the latest findings and advances in technology. Built on a solid foundation of decades of construction knowledge and experience, model building codes are updated every three years and incorporate new information such as results of post-disaster research. When a community adopts code updates, it involves a range of stakeholders who prioritize public health and safety with affordability in mind. In addition, there is an increased desire for sustainability and climate adaptation.
Building Codes assist communities
Implementing building codes can save a community money in reduced insurance premiums, lower bond ratings, and can help when applying for federal grant funds. For example, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs provide funding for activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from disaster damage. If your community is looking to adopt or improve their building code, they can apply for funds to help implement building code changes.
Who are the Code regulators in NZ?
1. MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) is the over-arching regulator of code in NZ and provides overall leadership in the building and construction sector.
Their work includes managing the system that regulates building work and monitoring its effectiveness. They review the Building Code and produce documents that show how to comply with it and monitor the performance of district and city councils. They're also involved in investigating complaints making determinations about disputes on certain building matters.
MBIE works alongside building practitioners, government agencies, other regulators and the construction industry to understand what matters to the sector and to improve the regulatory system.
2. Building Consent Authorities (BCA's)
Most city and district councils are building consent authorities (BCA). They may also contract these services out.
BCAs issue building consents, undertake inspections during construction and issue code compliance certificates, certifying that the finished work complies with the Building Code. They also issue notices to fix and compliance schedules.
2. District and City councils
Councils have a range of building-related responsibilities over and above those of a BCA.
They keep records about all the properties in their area, issue project information memoranda and certificates of acceptance, monitor compliance schedules and follow up notices to fix. They also have policies for certain buildings that are most vulnerable in an earthquake.
Councils also have powers to address breaches of the Building Act. They can issue infringement notices or, in some circumstances, organise for remedial work to be done.
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