The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has begun its 2022 update of the Building Code. Areas of change include plumbing and drainage, structural stability, and fire protection.
This process is undertaken every year to ensure the Building Code and its ancillary documents are managed effectively and remain relevant with modern construction methods.
MBIE is focusing on three topics: plumbing and drainage; structural stability; and protection from fire. We have provided a brief overview of the reasons for each consultation topic and some of the proposed changes below.
Plumbing and drainage
Of all of the topics, MBIE cited the most reasons for addressing plumbing and drainage. These included the presence of lead in plumbing products, excessive water temperatures leading to water scalds and the protection of drinking water.
It is proposed these are addressed in a range of ways, including:
- reducing the allowable lead content for certain plumbing products;
- reducing the maximum allowable water temperature;
- providing various ways a plumber may limit this; and
- limiting drinking water contamination by altering when the flow of water through a pipe may be reversed.
Hollow-core flooring, which has been in widespread use in New Zealand since the 1980s, is vulnerable to excessive damage from earthquakes. This poses a significant safety and economic issues that MBIE proposes to address, including removing a compliance pathway for the use of hollow-core flooring.
Protection from fire
As housing density and multi-unit properties increase, fire risk is an increasingly important area to address.
MBIE is proposing to broaden the applicability of fire safety criteria which has the “potential to significantly alter the designs of certain types of builds” alongside proposed updates to smoke and fire alarms.
Taituarā will not be submitting on the Building Code changes but encourages those who wish to be involved to engage with the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ), who will be preparing advice to MBIE.
Various documents relating to the update, including consultation documents for each topic and the submission form, are available on the MBIE website.
Submissions close 5pm Friday 1 July 2022.