Changes to E3 and H1 Acceptable Solutions of the New Zealand Building Code

13 December

E3 – Amendment 7 to Acceptable Solution E3/AS1 for Internal Moisture is now in force
Amendment 7 to the Acceptable Solution E3/AS1, for Clause E3 Internal Moisture of the New Zealand Building Code came into force on 3 November 2021, with the previous Amendment 6 expiring on this date. Amendment 7 was effective from 5 November 2020, however, was subject to a one-year transition period. A copy of the new requirements can be found here.

These are important changes, which have significant impact on the current E3 Acceptable Solutions. As such, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with Amendment 7. 

In summary, one of the main changes is that Amendment 7 now includes the reclassification of dishwashers and washing machines as Sanitary Appliances and basins and sinks as Sanitary Fixtures. There is a requirement for ensuring acceptable flooring solutions must now have a finish that is both impervious and easily cleaned and, in open plan spaces, this surface must extend at least 1.5 meters from all sanitary fixtures and appliances. 

The changes may require the use of floor drains, and also mean that carpet on the rear of a kitchen island, in bathrooms or laundries is no longer acceptable (including garage carpet), and all flooring within the splash zone must be sealed with most also requiring water proofing. Timber or timber based products can no longer be used as linings and finishes to floors in wet areas. 

BRANZ have released a good summary of the changes, which can be found here and here.
  
We understand that the changes only relate to consents approved or issued after 3 November, and all consents approved or issued prior to that date are subject to Amendment 6. We are seeking confirmation from MBIE on this. 

We are currently liaising with MBIE on holding a webinar/Q&A session on the changes for members in the New Year. If you would like to participate in this session, can you please advise us by emailing advocacy@masterbuilder.org.nz, so we can determine interest. Please do not email queries relating to the changes themselves to this email. These queries should be directed to MBIE directly on 0800 242 243 or info@building.govt.nz.

H1 - Energy efficiency for all housing and buildings up to 300m2 – Acceptable Solution H1/AS1

A reminder that MBIE has just released the biggest energy efficiency updates to the H1 Acceptable Solutions and Verification methods in more than a decade. A copy of the new H1 Acceptable Solutions can be found here.

The changes were effective from 29 November 2021. However, there is a one-year transition period before the changes become mandatory on 3 November 2022. 

The new window insulation requirements will have a two-step approach for the warmest part of the country (climate zones 1 and 2 including Auckland). 

  • Year 1. The warmest part (climate zones 1 and 2 including Auckland) will see an interim increase in the window insulation level. 
  • Year 2. Climate zone 1 and 2 will see an additional increase with new requirements effective 2 November 2023

We are currently working through the impact of the changes for our members. We, along with the Residential Working Group, have some concerns regarding the buildability and affordability of the changes, particularly regarding the new glazing requirements, and are working these through with the relevant team at MBIE. 

We are also considering the best method of providing sufficient information to members on what the changes mean. In the interim a summary of the main changes is set out below:

  • The scope of H1/AS1 has been reduced to cover only housing, and buildings other than housing less than 300 m2 . Requirements applicable to buildings other than housing over 300 m2 have been combined into the new Acceptable Solution H1/AS2. To reflect the new scope of the documents and the new document layout, a new introduction and scope has been provided in Part 1. General.
  • Buildings with curtain walling have been excluded from the scope of H1/AS1.
  • Citation of NZS 4218: 2009 “Thermal insulation – Housing and small buildings” has been removed from the document. The relevant content from this standard has been adopted into H1/AS1 with permission from Standards New Zealand.
  • The minimum R-values previously found in NZS 4218 are replaced with new values and new text in Part 2 - Building thermal envelope.
  • The requirements for determining the thermal resistance and construction R-value of building elements have been revised to better reflect the thermal performance of windows, doors, skylights and slab-on ground floors.
  • Portions of text have been re-written to enhance clarity in the document and provide consistent language with other acceptable solutions and verification methods.
  • Requirements for artificial lighting have been removed from H1/AS1 as these now apply to buildings outside of the new scope of H1/AS1. 
  • References have been revised to include only documents within the scope of H1/AS1 and have been amended to include the most recent versions of AS/NZS 4859.1, NZS 4246, and ALF in Appendix A.
  • Additional references have been added to include BS EN 673, ISO 10077-1, ISO 13370, and ISO 13789 in Appendix A. 
    The definitions page has been revised to include all defined terms used in this document in Appendix B. 
  • The three-zone climate zone map previously found in NZS 4218 has been updated with a six-zone climate zone map in Appendix C.
  • Requirements for establishing the orientation of a building have been added in Appendix D. 
  • The thermal performance tables for windows and glazing previously found in NZS 4218 have been replaced with a single table with updated construction R-values for vertical windows and doors in Appendix E. 
  • Tables with construction R-values of selected slab-on-ground floor scenarios have been added to a new Appendix F.

You can visit the building performance page on the MBIE website for further detailed information on the changes and how they may affect you. 

If you wish to contact MBIE to discuss the changes you can do so on 0800 242 243 or info@building.govt.nz

Kia Kaha. 
David Kelly