31 Mar 2020

MBIE are seeking feedback through consultation on the proposed updates to the following Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods:

At Masterspec we have reviewed the proposed updates, although details may change slightly as a result of feedback, we think the major changes will make it through the process. The following review is our take on the big picture and what might become the actual updates.

As consultation closes on the revised date of 17th April 2020 (was 27th March), and you need something to do during your isolation, how about making a submission to MBIE at this link


C/VM2, C/AS2 - Cladding Testing
More or less along the previously published MBIE guidance "Fire Performance of External Wall Cladding Systems".
New Standards proposed for testing are:
  • AS 5113: 2016 (+A1) - Classification of external walls of buildings based on reaction-to-fire performance. (previously in comments)
  • BS 8414.1: 2015 (+A1) - Fire performance of external cladding systems - Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems applied to the masonry face of a building. (previously in comments)
  • BS 8414.2: 2015 (+A1) - Fire performance of external cladding systems - Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems fixed to and supported by a structural steel frame. (previously in comments)
  • BS EN 13501.1: 2018 - Fire classification of construction products and building elements - Classification using test data from reaction to fire tests.  (new version AS2) (previously in comments)
  • NFPA 285: 2019 Standard fire test method for evaluation of fire propagation characteristics of exterior wall assemblies containing combustible components.  (new version)
  • BR 135: 2013 Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi-storey buildings - Third Edition.  (previously in comments)

Proposed Standards to be deleted:

  • ISO 13785: 2002- Reaction-to-fire tests for facades - Intermediate-scale test (from VM2)
  • BRANZ Study Report No. 137: 2005 Development of the Vertical Channel Test Method for Regulatory Control of Combustible Exterior Cladding Systems (from VM2)

Combustibility takes on a new complexion with the addition of BS EN 13501.1. This introduces and defines "Non-combustible" classified as A1 to the Standard, and "Limited Combustibility" classified as A2 to the Standard. These classifications are a common site in related European product datasheets. This proposed important update shows these classifications being used for a large number of certain cladding assemblies, which potentially if all products in the assembly have been tested, could make it easier and cheaper to comply.

Cavity Barriers are now better defined.

C/VM2 - Horizontal fire Spread & Editorial amendments
A number of new figures and tables have been added relating to:

  • Configuration of buildings/walls and relationship to boundaries with regard to openings & protection
  • Glazing & openings and calculation methods

There has been a considerable amount of text relocated from the Commentary Documents into C/VM2

C/AS1 - Proposed amendments to C/AS1
A number of changes to definitions including those related to Escape. Note, clause 1.1.1.b. will limit escape height to 4m for multi-unit dwellings under C/AS1.

C/AS2 - Proposed amendments to C/AS2
There are a large number of both major and minor changes. Quite a few updates and additions to the requirements for facilities for fire services vehicles, fire fighters and emergency lift controls.

Suspended flexible fabrics (old clause 4.17,8 - new 4.16.8) provides more examples and clarifies what is included. This includes "curtains, drapes, other vertical hung ornamental fabrics", which will need a Flammability Index no greater than 12. Under the required conditions, drapes and the like have often been overlooked as needing to comply, this will make it more obvious.
"Downlights" (old clause 7.4) will be deleted and replaced by "Electrical Fire Safety" (new 7.4) which will only refer you to NZBC G9 Electricity. Proposed changes to G9 mean that the Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010 become the controlling document.

For residential buildings this does not change much. However, for non-residential buildings due to the Standards now cited, it means the same recessed types of residential fittings can be used, but now with insulation abutting or covering the fitting depending on the type of fitting.


E1/AS1, E1/VM1, E1/AS2 - Standards
A number of Standards updated to newer versions

E1/AS2 - New Acceptable solution
MBIE are adding AS/NZS 3500.3: 2018 Stormwater Drainage as a new Acceptable Solution. The new E1/AS2 will of course modify 3500.3, a few are significant (but not all bad). This provides a valuable new tool to the tool box and Masterspec certainly hope to take advantage of it.
We understand from industry sources that this will help provide more accurate calculations for rainfall provisions.

E1/AS1, E1/VM1 - Changes in Rainfall Intensity Requirements
E1/VM1 has more rainfall intensity sources added.
E1/AS1 Appendix A has maps deleted and very extensive tables added providing locations all over New Zealand and their Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP).

E2/AS1 has mainly been updated to align with the new E1/AS2


E3/AS1 - Proposed amendments to E3/AS1
A number of new Standards added, although "where quoted" is not always right.
New clause 2.0.2 clarifies overflow requirements for kitchen & laundry sinks if no floor waste is provided.
A number of changes will occur to align AS1 with the new AS2. Some of these may prove to be problematic, for instance:
  • A number of existing acceptable floor finishes will be deleted
  • A number of existing acceptable wall finishes will be deleted
  • Sanitary Fixtures" and "Sanitary Appliances" have been added to sources of "Splash"

This may mean that a residential kitchen near to the sink or dishwasher will find it difficult to get approval to have timber floors or walls?  As it will become a matter of interpretation by the BCA.

E3/AS2 - A new Acceptable Solution
This new Acceptable Solution cites the Waterproofing Membrane Association Inc's, Code of Practice for Internal Wet-areas Membrane Systems, as an Acceptable Solution for substrate waterproofing.


G9/AS1, G9/VM1 - Generally
The Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010 (no reprint date given) will become the controlling document for G9, replacing AS/NZS 3000 and other Standards as the major cited document. However, this does not change things as much as you would think, as the Regulations mostly refer to the same AS/NZS 3000 and other Standards anyway.

G9/AS1 - Proposed amendments to G9/AS1
Still cites NZECP 51, but at least it now clarifies how limited the use of it is (about time?).
In buildings intended for use by persons with disabilities additions include:
  • heights for light switches have been defined.
  • in accessible accommodation, switches & outlets will need to be "contrasting to surrounding".

G9/VM1 - Proposed amendments to G9/VM1
For downlights refer to NZBC C/AS2 comments above.

G13 FOUL WATER: G13/AS1, G13/AS2, G13/AS3

G13/AS1, G13/AS2, G13/AS3 - Generally
A number of Standards updated to newer versions.

G13/AS3 - Proposed amendments to G13/AS3
Some amendments to drain junctions to AS/NZS 3500.2.
G13/AS3 has had "Sanitary" added to the title and will read as "Sanitary Plumbing and Drainage".
Part 1.0 Installation of PVC-U Pipe which cites AS/NZS 2032, has been deleted and not replaced.