The first step towards compliance is identifying the relevant Building Code requirements.
The Building Code sets out required levels of building performance. It consists of three clauses of general provisions and 38 clauses covering specific areas such as structure, durability, moisture, energy efficiency, fire safety and services such as electricity and water supply.
The Code sets out performance requirements – for example, that buildings can withstand the structural loads they are likely to experience during their lives – but does not set out how that performance might be achieved.
Most clauses in The Building Code have Acceptable Solutions or Verification Methods that describe how the performance requirements of the particular clause can be met.
Acceptable solutions and Verification Methods are not mandatory but, if followed to the letter, they provide a means of compliance with the Building Code that must be accepted by building consent authorities.
These documents are updated and changed from time to time. The latest versions can be downloaded from the MBIE building performance website.
Renovation work often falls outside the scope of Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and certified products and methods. This means that an Alternative Method must be used to demonstrate compliance with the Building Code. Once it receives consent, the Alternative Method is known as an Alternative Solution.
Alternative methods may be used in renovations when there is no Acceptable Solution or Verification Method that directly covers the building method or product the designer proposes to use. An Alternative Method may involve minor variation from Acceptable Solutions, or take a completely different approach. It may be less robust than a comparable Acceptable Solution so long as it meets the Code requirements. And it may relate to an entire building or merely to part.
Alternative methods are often relevant for renovation work, for example for demonstrating that the materials and methods used in the existing building meet Code requirements.
The first step is to identify the Building Code clauses relevant to the construction work. Key Building Code clauses that must generally be considered in renovations include:
- B1 Structure
- B2 Durability
- E2 External moisture
- H1 Energy efficiency.
Note that B2 Durability will require consideration in all renovation work situations.
Other clauses that may also need to be addressed include the following.
|Installing mechanical extract fans in rooms with cooktops, showers and baths|
|G13 Foul water|