02 Aug 2019

Masterspec has almost completed its review of the updates to the approximately sixteen Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods. Although one or two have made it into sections for this August release, we won't publish the majority of updates to Masterspec sections until our 1st September release. For those working on long term projects, we thought it might help if we give you few big-picture pointers on what to look out for.

On 27 June the transition period started for updates to the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods. They all become compulsory on the 1st November 2019, so from that date, if any previous versions of AS's or VM's are used they will be considered an alternative solution.

Summary of key updates

The following is a brief review of critical updates with a few additional comments from Masterspec:

B1 Structure: B1/VM1 (Amendment 18)

  • Paragraph 3.1.1: Hollow-core floor precast unit Maximum depth increase to 400mm.
  • Paragraph 5.3: Light steel framing (using NASH Standard Part 1) deleted and moved to NZBC B1/AS1.

B1 Structure: B1/AS1 (Amendment 18)

  • Paragraph 9.1: Light steel framing using new NASH Standard Part 2 added (was NZBC B1/VM1, 5.3).

 C Protection from Fire: C/AS2 (the new C/AS2 edition replaces the old C/AS2 to C/AS7)

This is a new document that replaces the six old documents C/AS2 to C/AS7. Note that C/AS1 remains unchanged.

Most of the text etc. remains the same, although they might have moved about (& renumbered). Some clause text has been put into new tables, and there are a few new Standards.

Major changes to Text:

  • Fire Safety Systems: New Table 2.2 (was Table 2.1) & A2.1.1. add a new system, Type 15 - Fire & Emergency New Zealand Lift Control.
  • Deleted clause 5.2.2, removing dispensation for cladding within 1m of the boundary if sprinklers are used.
  • New Table 5.5 (from old clause 5.8.1) for external cladding system requirements, standardises height to above or below 10m (deletes the old 7m option).

Major changes to Tables:

  • Old Table 4.1 for surface finishes (group numbers) has been split in 2 and renumbered. New Table 4.3 is Internal Surface Finishes, covers walls and ceilings. New Table 4.4 is Surfaces of Building Services (more detailed than the old table), covers the interior of ducts and exterior of pipes & ducts.
  • Old Table 4.2 Critical radiant flux for floors, is now Table 4.5 but virtually the same.
  • Old C/VM2 Table A1, about acceptable generic material Group Numbers, has been added to C/AS2 Table C1.2, with minor alterations such as adding tiling.

Major changes to Standards:

  • Old AS/NZS 1668.1 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings - Fire and smoke control in multi-compartment buildings, has been replaced by AS1682.1 Fire Dampers - Specification, and AS1682.2 Fire Dampers - Installation, in clauses 4.16.12 & 4.16.14.
  • Ductwork Standard AS 4254 has been added to new Table 4.4 and fire test Standard AS/NZS 3837 has been added to new Table 5.5.

E2 External Moisture: E2/VM2 (new VM)

Introduces a new cladding system test using the BRANZ EM7 Test Specification, as a means of complying with NZBC E2.3.2. Note that this test allows cladding systems up to 25m in height, whereas apparently, NZBC E2/VM1 simpler tests are only up to 10m.

G4 Ventilation: G4/AS1 (new AS1 edition)

New Clause 1.2.5 makes it mandatory for household units and accommodation units to have mechanical extract fans for showers/baths (25 L/s) and cooktops (50 L/s). Passive Stack Vents have been effectively deleted from AS1.
Note; these changes have already been made to the relevant Masterspec sections, in particular, 7612 & 7612HE.

G12 Water Supplies: G12/VM1, G12/AS1, G12/AS2 (Amendment 12)

This mostly revolves around the adoption of new versions of AS/NZS 3500.1 & AS/NZS 3500.4.

  • AS/NZS 3500.1:2018, Plumbing and drainage - Water services, has replaced the old AS/NZS 3500.1:2015.
  • AS/NZS 3500.4:2018, Plumbing and drainage - Heated water services, plus Amendment 1, has replaced the old AS/NZS 3500.4:2015

G13 Foul Water: G13/AS1, G13/AS2, G13/AS3, G13/VM2 (Amendment 8)

This mostly revolves around the adoption of a new version of AS/NZS 3500.2.

  • AS/NZS 3500.2:2018, Plumbing and drainage - Sanitary plumbing and drainage has replaced the old AS/NZS 3500.2:2015.