Archive | Standards

Standards review bill introduced

The Standards & Accreditation Bill, introduced yesterday, is aimed at strengthening the development & delivery of NZ Standards.

It follows a comprehensive review to ensure the Standards system is independent & sustainable.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss said key aspects of the bill included:

  • establishing a new independent statutory board to approve NZ Standards
  • ensuring independent Standards development committees will continue to comprise industry & technical experts, consumer representatives & regulators
  • establishing a new independent statutory officer within the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment to oversee the development of Standards, and
  • amending the Copyright Act to preserve existing intellectual property in Standards.

“This Bill will better align Standards development with important Government priorities such as innovation & trade facilitation. It will also make minor changes to arrangements for the Testing Laboratory Registration Council, including amending the council’s appointment process and updating the description of its activities to better reflect its valuable accreditation work.”

Link: Standards review

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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51 old standards up for withdrawal

Standards NZ has listed 51 standards which be withdrawn because of their age. They’re among 1300 which Standards Australia is reviewing.

Submissions on the proposed withdrawals close on Friday 21 February.

Standards NZ said this week: “It is essential that standards mirror current practice, are technologically up to date and reflect current views on safety, quality & environmental impact. Standards Australia is reviewing 1300 standards that are greater than 10 years old.

“A proportion of Standards Australia’s catalogue comprises joint Australian/New Zealand standards that are led by Standards Australia (Standards Australia holds the secretariat responsible for the standards development). These standards are being reviewed by joint standards development committees on which New Zealand has nominated representatives.

“The committees are assessing the ageing standards and making recommendations to:

  • reconfirm the standard without changes
  • withdraw the standard
  • make the standard obsolete, or
  • revise the standard.”

Link: Standards proposed for withdrawal

Attribution: Standards NZ release.

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Government to end Standards NZ autonomy, opts for statutory board

The Government has decided to replace the Standards Council & Standards NZ with a “new model” – a statutory board.

The council is an autonomous statutory body which maintains a catalogue of 2500 standards, 80% of them jointly with Australia. Standards NZ is the operator.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss presented his proposals to change in a paper to Cabinet on 26 September and announced the agreed changes yesterday, including legislation to be in place by July 2014.

He said the Standards Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment considered the council wasn’t “financially sustainable in the medium to long term within its current business model and given its operating environment”.

The council reported a $350,000 loss last year despite focused cost reduction efforts, which Mr Foss said had exhausted the main cost savings opportunities.

He said the development of standards wasn’t as responsive as it could be to the needs of industry, regulators & consumers, and gave the development of fit-for-purpose documents as an example.

The Government also saw potential to strengthen the contribution of Standards to the Government’s desired outcomes in innovation, international trade and health & safety.

Mr Foss saw 3 problems with the current structure:

  • Tension between the council’s role as a service delivery organisation and advocacy & policy
  • The distance from the Government inherent in the Crown entity model made it hard for the council to retain relevance, visibility & credibility with other parts of government, and
  • The difficulties for a small standalone organisation facing thin demand & a limited client base to achieve the flexibility & scalability required in a dynamic environment, such as the expectations of customers that standards are increasingly available online.

Those problems look hardly insurmountable, making the shift to closer Government supervision a preference led by the Government’s desire to direct the country towards being a more focused NZ Inc business.

In line with that thinking – and most contentious for those preferring the autonomous model – is that an independent statutory officer within the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment would undertake standards development.

The first part of the change proposal is to establish a decision-making board to perform the roles of approving standards & membership of standards development committees, and advising the minister on the currency of the standards catalogue.

On the question of sustainability, Mr Foss’s answer was “to establish a set of principles to guide the application of the funding model”.

Mr Foss proposed a statutory board, but recognised that many people preferred to stick with an autonomous entity. The board would have 5-7 members appointed by the minister of commerce, whereas the present council has up to 4 direct ministerial appointments and up to 8 appointments drawn from 17 nominating organisations.

Other decisions arising from the review, carried out last year, include Independent committees continuing to comprise industry & technical experts, consumer representatives & regulators.

Mr Foss expects to introduce a standards bill early next year.

Link: Standards conformance

Attribution: Ministerial release, Cabinet paper.

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Conditions of contract standard reviewed

Published 15 October 2012

Standards NZ is seeking feedback on the draft of a limited technical review of the standard for conditions of contract for building & civil engineering construction, NZS 3910:2003. Submissions close on Friday 9 November.

Changes or new features in the draft include:

specific provisions for design & construct contractsmore specific provisions relating to costreimbursement contracts provision for advance notification of matters likely to affect cost or timeupdated insurance provisionsclearer provisions for valuing variationsmore workable payment schedule provisions, andmore specific programme & quality plan provisions.

Link: Draft standard

Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Standards NZ release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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New standard to measure road noise

Published 4 May 2010

There is now a standard to measure the noise made by traffic, but only on new state highways & local roads, and those that have been substantially altered.


NZS 6806:2010, published by Standards NZ last Friday, establishes upper noise limits for those roads and sets out procedures & requirements for the prediction, measurement & assessment of road traffic noise.


It’s intended to be used primarily by local authorities & road-controlling authorities and seeks to promote quicker & consistent decision-making nationally regarding the management of road traffic noise.


Stndards NZ said it also provided best-practice guidance & advice on methods for mitigating reverse sensitivity situations and the environmental effects of noise exposure on nearby noise-sensitive activities.


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Standards NZ release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Manukau council highly critical of draft subdivision standard

Published 3 February 2010

Manukau City Council will make a highly critical submission to Standards NZ on its review of the standard for land development & subdivision, NZS4404.


The council’s all-councillor policy & activities committee approved the strongly worded report of senior policy advisor Yu Yi on the standard revision last night. Standards NZ wants comments on the draft in by Friday 5 February.


Standards NZ’s objective was to produce a standard that councils could adopt, but staff from various Manukau council units found it addressed few issues other than providing some minimum engineering requirements – and most of these were much lower than the council already practised.


“If no major amendments are made, technical changes should be made to allow individual territorial authorities to pursue better land development & subdivision outcomes,” Ms Yu said.


She said the council staff were surprised the draft standard document contained neither a statement of purpose nor a set of general objectives, and went on to suggest 5 objectives:


To encourage high quality urban design & residential amenityTo set appropriate environmental criteriaTo provide a comprehensive design approach for residential, rural, industrial & commercial subdivisionTo provide a user-friendly document with flexible performance-based criteria to guide development, andTo provide for the ecologically sustainable subdivision of land.


Ms Yu said the council staff compared the New Zealand draft with international examples and found it didn’t differentiate between residential, rural, industrial or commercial subdivision, or tourist accommodation development: “From the council’s experience, the traffic flow, pedestrian flow, functions & environmental impacts vary significantly in different types of land development or subdivision. There are also needs of flexibility for retro-fitting in brownfield redevelopment & urban intensification. The council believes a ‘one size suits all’ approach will not be appropriate in all circumstances.”


Again comparing with overseas practices, the council staff found the draft didn’t highlight the philosophy or principles behind the contemporary subdivision design:


Placing people at the heart of the design processAcknowledging diversity & differenceOffering choiceProviding for flexibility in use, andProviding buildings & environments that are convenient & enjoyable to use for everyone.


It also didn’t address:


the layout of subdivisionblock or lot sizeresidential neighbourhood designmajor or local street networkspedestrian & cycle facilitiespublic transportpublic open space, orstreet design.


And it didn’t provide for an integrated planning & design process such as a site development brief, including the site analysis for the design area & impact area, development or concept or masterplans, or a design appraisal.


Ms Yu said: “It is the council’s opinion that these matters & process are essential to achieve a better subdivision design outcome, especially for the larger-scale subdivision development.”


The Manukau staff also felt some very detailed technical provisions were inappropriately written in a mandatory form which would discourage innovative or efficient solutions. They said international practice suggested there should be a technical compliance manual with clear objectives, performance criteria & acceptable solutions.


The council was concerned about the status the standard would have, because a number of its provisions were inconsistent with various plans prepared under the Resource Management Act & related legislation.


The council was also concerned that no local body representatives had been involved in the review committee. Ms Yu said Manukau wanted to be heard on the next stage of developing the standard, if not involved in creating it.


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Standards NZ puts subdivision draft out for comment

Published 24 January 2010

Standards NZ has put a draft revised standard, DZ 4404, land development & subdivision, out for comment, closing Friday 5 February. Project administrator Rachel Mahony said the draft standard was intended to “encourage sustainable & modern design that emphasises liveability & environmental quality in land development & subdivision”.


It’s a revision of NZS 4404:2004 Land development & subdivision engineering.


She said the impetus for the review came from requests for changes & updates from the NZ Transport Agency, Local Government NZ & a number of individual users of the standard: “The 2004 version was completed about the time new thinking in urban design was finding its way into the consciousness of planners, surveyors & engineers who are involved in land development, but was not sufficiently developed in the New Zealand context to be able to be incorporated at that time.


“Sustainable urban design contributes to liveability & economic development and is now a goal of reputable developers, forward-thinking designers & territorial authorities. The review committee members all agreed that the revised standard needed to strongly encourage that aspiration and remove roadblocks to it.” The draft proposes significant changes to the way roads are classified & designed and changes the emphasis on how we manage stormwater. The sections on landscaping & reserves have been combined & rewritten. The key changes include:


removing ‘engineering’ from the title of the standard to emphasise that collaboration among a number of disciplines is important for good land development outcomesrequiring that road design allows ‘context’ or ‘place’ to be given significant emphasis, and that roads be designed to achieve safe (slower) operating speedsa new emphasis on managing & treating stormwater ‘before it gets into a pipe’, by the use of grassed swales, natural or artificial waterways, ponds & wetlands, anda requirement to consider climate change & potential sea level rise.


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Standards NZ release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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First draft standard for steel-framed housing out for comment

Published 6 January 2010

The National Association of Steel-framed Housing has released a draft NASH standard for residential & lowrise steel framing – Part 1: Design criteria – for comment. The document is part of a series of design documents the association is developing for the steel construction industry. Others will follow this year.


Closing date for comment on this draft is Friday 5 February. Links: National Association of Steel-framed Housing

Residential & lowrise steel framing, part 1: Design criteria


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Association release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Hebel cladding system approved

Published 22 April 2009

The Department of Building & Housing has approved a new cladding system for use on timber-framed residential & light commercial buildings.


The department issued a certificate of accreditation for the Hebel panel cladding system on 15 April, which means it must now be treated as a certified product under the Building Act.


Certified products must be accepted as complying with the Building Code provided they are used in accordance with the conditions of the product certificate.


The Hebel system is a 75mm thick, autoclaved aerated concrete wall cladding, fixed to steel battens over timber framing, with a painted textured finish.


The Hebel system has fundamental differences from the claddings of Acceptable Solution E2/AS1 for external moisture.


Autoclaved aerated concrete is not a material covered by the acceptable solution and, although the Hebel panels are on a cavity, the cavity is not drained & ventilated but instead is closed in & effectively sealed.


The panel detailing, along with minimum eave widths, provides primary weather protection. A secondary means of weather resistance is provided by the absorption characteristics of the Hebel panels, where moisture or condensation is absorbed into the back of the panel then released at the surface to the outside air by vapour diffusion.


Windows, doors & other penetrations through the system are fully sealed to the Hebel panels and have specially designed back flashings to direct any water that may pass through the cladding at the penetration to the rear face of the panels, where it is released as vapour.


Want to comment? Email [email protected].


Attribution: Department of Building & Housing, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Standards NZ embarks again on revising standard for timber-frame buildings

Published 29 October 2008

Standards NZ has begun a project to revise the standard for timber-frame buildings and will call for nominations to the technical committee soon.


BRANZ began research in June 2007 to support the changes that would be required to update the standard, NZS 3604:1999 Timber framed buildings and considerable consultation has already been undertaken, but Standards NZ is calling for new feedback on its update proposals by Friday 12 December.


Standards NZ project manager Mani Taare said NZS 3604 needed to be updated:


·         to reflect AS/NZS 1170 Loadings Standard, which will be referenced in the compliance documents to the Building Code effective 1 December

·         Acceptable solution E2/AS1 had superseded NZS 3604 building envelope design (weathertightness issues)

·         The standard needed to incorporate content on bracings & durability, and

·         It needed to reflect current technical knowledge & industry practices – for example, section 10, roof framing – is there still a need for couple-close roofs in the standard?


Website: Standards NZ


Want to comment? Email [email protected].


Attribution: Standards NZ release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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