Building Code Definitions


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A

access route

a continuous route that permits people and goods to move between the apron or construction edge of the building to spaces within a building, and between spaces within a building

accessible

having features to permit use by people with disabilities

accessible route

an access route usable by people with disabilities. It shall be a continuous route that can be negotiated unaided by a wheelchair user. The route shall extend from street boundary or carparking area to those spaces within the building required to be accessible to enable people with disabilities to carry out normal activities and processes within the building

adequate

means adequate to achieve the objectives of the building code

adjacent building

a nearby building, including an adjoining building, whether or not erected on other property

allotment

"has the meaning ascribed to it by section 4 of the Act as follows: meaning of allotment—
(1) In this Act, the term “allotment” means any parcel of land that is a continuous area of land and whose boundaries are shown on a survey plan that is: 
(a) subject to the Land Transfer Act 1952 and is comprised in one certificate of title or for which one certificate of title could be issued under that Act; or 
(b) not subject to that Act and was acquired by its owner under one instrument of conveyance. 
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the subdivision shown on the survey plan referred to in that subsection is: 
(a) the subdivision approved by way of a subdivision consent granted under the Resource Management Act 1991; or 
(b) the subdivision allowed or granted under any other Act. 
(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), an allotment shall be deemed to be a continuous area of land notwithstanding that part of it is physically separated from any other part by a road or in any other manner whatsoever, unless the division of the allotment into such parts has been allowed by a subdivision consent granted under the Resource Management Act 1991 or a subdivision approval under any former enactment relating to the subdivision of land

alter

in relation to a building, includes to rebuild, re-erect, repair, enlarge and extend; and ALTERATION has a corresponding meaning

amenity

means an attribute of a building which contributes to the health, physical independence, and well being of the building’s users but which is not associated with disease or a specific illness

approved temperature data

means the temperature data contained in A I Tomlinson and J Sansom, Temperature Normals for New Zealand for the period 1961 to 1990 (NIWA, ISBN 0478083343)

B

backcountry hut

means a building that—
(a) is located on land that is administered by the Department of Conservation for conservation, recreational, scientific, or other related purposes, including any land administered under any of the following:
(i) the Conservation Act 1987:
(ii) the National Parks Act 1980:
(iii) the Reserves Act 1977; and
(b) is intended to provide overnight shelter to any person who may visit and who carries his or her own food, bedding, clothing, and outdoor equipment; and
(c) contains only basic facilities, which may include (but are not limited to) any or all of the following:
(i) sleeping platforms or bunks:
(ii) mattresses:
(iii) food preparation surfaces:
(iv) appliances for heating:
(v) appliances for cooking:
(vi) toilets; and
(d) has been certified by the Director-General as being in a location that wheelchair users are unlikely to be able to visit; and
(e) is intended to be able to sleep—
(i) no more than 20 people in its backcountry hut sleeping area; and
(ii) no more than 40 people in total; and
(f) does not contain any connection, except by radiocommunications, to a network utility operator

backcountry hut sleeping area

means the area of a backcountry hut that contains sleeping platforms, bunks, or beds that are—
(a) within the same room as a food preparation or eating area; or 
(b) in a fully enclosed room that is separate from any food preparation or eating area and has— 
(i) internal walls that limit the spread of fire; and 
(ii) the means of direct egress to outside the hut

boundary

means any boundary that is shown on a survey plan that is approved by the Surveyor-General and deposited with the Registrar-General of Land, whether or not a new title has been issued

building

"has the meaning ascribed to it by section 3 of the Act as follows: meaning of building—

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the term building” means any temporary or permanent movable or immovable structure (including any structure intended for occupation by people, animals, machinery, or chattels); and includes any mechanical, electrical, or other systems, and any utility systems, attached to and forming part of the structure whose proper operation is necessary for compliance with the building code; but does not include: 
(a) systems owned or operated by a network utility operator for the purpose of reticulation of other property; or 
(b) cranes, including any cranes as defined in any regulations in force under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992; or 
(c) cablecars, cableways, ski tows, and other similar stand alone machinery systems, whether or not incorporated within any other structure; or
(d) any description of vessel, boat, ferry, or craft used in navigation, whether or not it has any means of propulsion, and regardless of that means; nor does it include— 
(i) a barge, lighter, or other like vessel: 
(ii) a hovercraft or other thing deriving full or partial support in the atmosphere from the reactions of air against the surface of the water over which it operates: 
(iii) a submarine or other thing used in navigation while totally submerged; or (
e) vehicles and motor vehicles (including vehicles and motor vehicles as defined in section 2(1) of the Transport Act 1962 and section 2(1) of the Transport (Vehicle and Driver Registration and Licensing) Act 1986), but not including vehicles and motor vehicles, whether movable or immovable, which are used exclusively for permanent or long-term residential purposes; or (ea) aircraft, including any machine that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air otherwise than by the reactions of the air against the surface of the earth; or 
(f) containers as defined in section 2(1) of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996; or 
(g) magazines as defined in section 2 of the Explosives Act 1957; or 
(h) scaffolding used in the course of the construction process; or (i) falsework used in the course of the construction process. 
(2) For the purposes of Part 9 of this Act, a building consent, a code compliance certificate, and a compliance schedule the term building also includes— 
(a) any part of a building; and 
(b) any 2 or more buildings which, on completion of any building work, are intended to be managed as 1 building with a common use and a common set of ownership arrangements. 
(3) For the purposes of subclause (2) of this definition, where any utility system or any part of any utility system— 
(a) is external to the building; and 
(b) is also connected to or is intended to be connected to— 
(i) a network under the control of a network utility operator; or 
(ii) some other facility which is able to provide for the successful functioning of the utility system in accordance with its intended design— that utility system or that part of the utility system shall be deemed to be part of a building. 
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of subclause (3) of this definition, where a septic tank is connected to a building utility system the septic tank shall be deemed to form part of that building utility system.

building certifier

means a person approved as a building certifier by the Authority under Part 7 of the Act

building code

means the building code made under Part 6 of the Act

building consent

means a consent to carry out building work granted by a territorial authority under Part 5 of the Act; and includes all conditions to which the consent is subject

building element

any structural or non-structural component and assembly incorporated into or associated with a building. Included are fixtures, services, drains, permanent mechanical installations for access, glazing, partitions, ceilings and temporary supports

building height

means the vertical distance between the floor level of the lowest occupied space above the ground and the top of the highest occupied floor, but not including spaces located within or on the roof that enclose stairways, lift shafts, or machinery rooms

building performance index (bpi)

, in relation to a building, means the heating energy of the building divided by the product of the heating degrees total and the sum of the floor area and the total wall area, and so is calculated in accordance with the following formula: 

building work

work for or in connection with the construction, alteration, demolition, or removal of a building; and includes sitework

burnout

means exposure to fire for a time that includes fire growth, full development, and decay in the absence of intervention or automatic suppression, beyond which the fire is no longer a threat to building elements intended to perform loadbearing or fire separation functions, or both

C

clearly visible

, for the purposes of clause F8.3.1, means visible, under the worst likely conditions and at the maximum distance from which the sign in question needs to be viewed, by a person who either does not have a visual impairment or uses corrective lenses

code compliance certificate

means a certificate to that effect issued by a territorial authority or a building certifier pursuant to section 43 of the Act

combustible building materials

means building materials that are deemed combustible according to AS 1530.1

compliance schedule

means a compliance schedule issued under section 44 of the Act

construct

in relation to a building, includes to build, erect, prefabricate, and relocate; and CONSTRUCTION has a corresponding meaning

contaminant

has the meaning ascribed to it by the Resource Management Act 1991

D

department of conservation

means the department of State established by section 5 of the Conservation Act 1987

director-general

has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Conservation Act 1987

drain

a pipe normally laid below ground level including fittings and equipment and intended to convey foul water or surface water to an outfall

E

electrical fixed appliance

an electrical appliance which is fixed-wired to the electrical installation, or intended to remain permanently attached and form part of the building

electrical installation

any electrical fixed appliances, and components used in the reticulation of electricity, which are intended to remain permanently attached to and form part of the building

electrical supply system

the source of electricity external to the electrical installation

escape route

a continuous unobstructed route from any occupied space in a building to a final exit to enable occupants to reach a safe place, and shall comprise one or more of the following: open paths, protected paths and safe paths

essential service

in the context of an electrical installation means emergency lighting, firemen’s lifts, alarms, water pumps, sprinklers, detectors, ventilation systems and public address systems necessary for the safety of people in buildings

estimated value

the value of building work shall be the aggregate of the values, determined in accordance with section 10 of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985, of all goods and services to be supplied for that building work

evacuation time

means the time between the ignition of a fire affecting a building and the time when all the occupants of the building have reached a place of safety

exitway

all parts of an escape route protected by fire or smoke separations, or by distance when exposed to open air, and terminating at a final exit

external wall

any exterior face of a building within 30° of vertical, consisting of primary and/or secondary elements intended to provide protection against the outdoor environment, but which may also contain unprotected areas

F

final exit

the point at which an escape route terminates by giving direct access to a safe place

fire

the state of combustion during which flammable materials burn producing heat, toxic gases, or smoke or flame or any combination of these

fire load

the sum of the net calorific values of the combustible contents which can reasonably be expected to burn within a firecell, including furnishings, built-in and removable materials, and building elements. The calorific values shall be determined at the ambient moisture content or humidity. (The unit of measurement is MJ or TJ)

fire resistance rating (frr)

the term used to classify fire resistance of primary and secondary elements as determined in the standard test for fire resistance, or in accordance with a specific calculation method verified by experimental data from standard fire resistance tests. It comprises three numbers giving the time in minutes for which each of the criteria stability, integrity and insulation are satisfied, and is presented always in that order

fire safety system

means the combination of all active and passive protection methods used in a building to—
(a) warn people of an emergency; and 
(b) provide for safe evacuation; and 
(c) provide for access by, and the safety of, firefighters; and 
(d)restrict the spread of fire; and 
(e) limit the impact of fire on structural stability

fire separation

any building element which separates firecells or firecells and safe paths, and provides a specific fire resistance rating

fire source

means the combination of the ignition source and the item first ignited within a room, space, or firecell, which combination is considered to be the origin of the fire for the purposes of design

firecell

any space including a group of contiguous spaces on the same or different levels within a building, which is enclosed by any combination of fire separations, external walls, roofs, and floors

fixture

an article intended to remain permanently attached to and form part of a building

floor area

, in relation to a building, means the floor area (expressed in square metres) of all interior spaces used for activities normally associated with domestic living

foul water

the discharge from any sanitary fixtures or sanitary appliances

foul water drainage system

drains joints and fittings normally laid underground and used specifically for the conveyance of water from the plumbing system to an outfall

fractional effective dose

means the fraction of the dose that would render a person of average susceptibility incapable of escape

H

habitable space

a space used for activities normally associated with domestic living, but excludes any bathroom, laundry, water-closet, pantry, walk-in wardrobe, corridor, hallway, lobby, clothes-drying room, or other space of a specialised nature occupied neither frequently nor for extended periods

handrail

a rail to provide both support to, or assist with the movement of a person

hard-standing

means a hard-surfaced area that is sufficiently stable to carry a fire truck, and includes a road

hazardous

creating an unreasonable risk to people of bodily injury or deterioration of health

hazardous substance

has the meaning ascribed to it by the Fire Service Act 1975

heating degrees

, in relation to a location and a heating month, means the degrees obtained by subtracting from a base temperature of 14°C the mean (calculated using the approved temperature data) of the outdoor temperatures at that location during that month

heating degrees total

, in relation to a location and a year, means whichever is the greater of the following:
(a) the value of 12; and 
(b) the sum of all the heating degrees (calculated using the approved temperature data) for all of the heating months of the year

heating energy

, in relation to a building, means the energy from a network utility operator or a depletable resource (expressed in kilowatt-hours, and calculated using the Building Research Association of New Zealand’s ALF 3, The ‘Annual Loss Factor Method’, A design tool for energy efficient houses (3rd edition, April 2000) or some other method that can be correlated with that manual) needed to maintain the building at all times within a year at a constant internal temperature under the following standard conditions:
(a) a continuous temperature of 20°C throughout the building:
(b) an air change rate of 1 change per hour or the actual air leakage rate, whichever is the greater:
(c) a heat emission contribution arising from internal heat sources for any period in the year of 1 000 kilowatt-hours for the first 50 m2 of floor area, and 10 kilowatt-hours for every additional square metre of floor area:
(d) no allowance for—
(i) carpets; or
(ii) blinds, curtains, or drapes, on windows:
(e) windows to have a shading coefficient of 0.6 (made up of 0.8 for windows and recesses and 0.75 for site shading)

heating month

, in relation to a location, means a month in which a base temperature of 14°C is greater than the mean (calculated using the approved temperature data) of the outdoor temperatures at that location during that month

household unit

means any building or group of buildings, or part of any building or group of buildings, used or intended to be used solely or principally for residential purposes and occupied or intended to be occupied exclusively as the home or residence of not more than one household; but does not include a hostel or boardinghouse or other specialised accommodation

hvac system

, for the purposes of performance H1.3.6 and in relation to a building, means a mechanical, electrical, or other system for modifying air temperature, modifying air humidity, providing ventilation, or doing all or any of those things, in a space within the building

I

illuminance

the luminous flux falling onto a unit area of surface

impact insulation class (iic)

a single number rating derived from measured values of normalised sound pressure impact levels in accordance with Method ASTM E492, Annex A1. Laboratory Measurement of Impact Sound Transmission Through Floor-Ceiling Assemblies Using the Tapping Machine. It provides an estimate of the impact sound insulating performance of a floor-ceiling assembly

impervious

that which does not allow the passage of moisture

insulation

in the context of fire protection, the time in minutes for which a prototype specimen of a fire separation, when subjected to the standard test for fire resistance, has limited the transmission of heat through the specimen

integrity

in the context of fire protection, the time in minutes for which a prototype specimen of a fire separation, when subjected to the standard test for fire resistance, has prevented the passage of flame or hot gases

intended use

, of a building includes—
(a) any reasonably foreseeable occasional other use that is not incompatible with the intended use; and 
(b) normal maintenance; and 
(c) activities taken in response to fire or any other reasonably foreseeable emergency—but does not include any other maintenance and repairs or rebuilding

N

network utility operator

means a person who—
(a) undertakes the distribution or transmission by pipeline of natural or manufactured gas, petroleum, or geothermal energy; or 
(b) is an electricity operator or an electricity distributor as defined by section 2(1) of the Electricity Act 1992 for the purposes of any works as defined by that Act; or (c) undertakes the piped distribution of potable water for supply; or 
(d) is the operator of a sewerage system or a stormwater drainage system

O

occupied space

any space within a building in which a person will be present from time to time during the intended use of the building

open space

means land on which there are, and will be, no buildings and which has no roof over any part of it other than overhanging eaves

other property

means any land or buildings or part thereof which are—
(a) not held under the same allotment; or
(b) not held under the same ownership— and includes any road

outdoor air

air as typically comprising by volume. (i) oxygen 20.94% (ii) carbon dioxide 0.03% (iii) nitrogen and other inert gases 79.03%

outfall

that part of the disposal system receiving surface water or foul water from the drainage system. For foul water the outfall may include a sewer or a septic tank. For surface water, the outfall may include a natural water course, kerb and channel, or soakage system

P

people with disabilities

people whose ability to use buildings is affected by mental, physical, hearing or sight impairment

place of safety

means either—
(a) a safe place; or
(b) a place that is inside a building and meets the following requirements:
(i) the place is constructed with fire separations that have fire resistance sufficient to withstand burnout at the point of the fire source; and
(ii) the place is in a building that is protected by an automatic fire sprinkler system that complies with NZS 4541 or NZS 4515 as appropriate to the building’s use; and
(iii) the place is designed to accommodate the intended number of persons; and
(iv) the place is provided with sufficient means of escape to enable the intended number of persons to escape to a safe place that is outside a building

plumbing system

pipes, joints and fittings laid above ground and used for the conveyance of foul water to the foul water drain, and includes vent pipes

principal user

a member of the primary group for which a building was constructed, and therefore explicitly excludes persons or groups of persons providing care or control of that principal user group

R

radiocommunications

has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Radiocommunications Act 1989

reasonably visible

, in relation to a specified feature, and for the purposes of Clause F6, means that the specified feature is visible to a person who—
(a) is 10 metres from it, or the greatest distance from it that it is possible to go in the open space surrounding it, whichever is the lesser; and 
(b) has sight that is not defective, or is corrected (for example, by an optical appliance)

relevant boundary

means the boundary of an allotment that is other property in relation to the building in question and from which is measured the separation between the building and that other property; and for the external wall of any building, the relevant boundary is the nearest of—
(a) a boundary of a freehold allotment, except that if the other property is a road, railway line, or public open space, the relevant boundary is the boundary on the far side of that other property; or 
(b) a boundary of a cross-lease or a company lease or a licence, except that if the other property is open space to which the lessee or licensee of the building in question has an exclusive right of access and occupation or to which 2 or more occupiers of the building in question have rights of access and occupation, the relevant boundary is the boundary on the far side of that other property; or 
(c) a boundary shown on a unit plan (but excluding a boundary between a principal unit and its accessory unit), except that if the other property is open space and is common property, the relevant boundary is the boundary on the far side of that other property

risk group a

, for the purposes of performance F6.3.4 and performance F6.3.5, means buildings—
(a) whose occupants are required to remain in the building until the main lighting system is restored; or 
(b) whose evacuation time is longer than 90 minutes

risk group b

, for the purposes of performance F6.3.4 and performance F6.3.5, means buildings—
(a) whose evacuation time is 30 minutes or longer but not longer than 90 minutes; or 
(b) whose occupant load is more than 1 000

risk group c

, for the purposes of performance F6.3.4, means buildings not in risk group A or risk group B

S

safe place

a place of safety in the vicinity of a building, from which people may safely disperse after escaping the effects of a fire. It may be a place such as a street, open space, public space or an adjacent building

sanitary appliance

an appliance which is intended to be used for sanitation, but which is not a sanitary fixture. Included are machines for washing dishes and clothes

sanitary fixture

any fixture which is intended to be used for sanitation

sanitation

the term used to describe the activities of washing and/or excretion carried out in a manner or condition such that the effect on health is minimised, with regard to dirt and infection

sewer

a drain that is under the control of, or maintained by, a network utility operator

sitework

means work on a building site, including earthworks, preparatory to or associated with the construction, alteration, demolition, or removal of a building

sound transmission class (stc)

a single number rating derived from measured values of transmission loss in accordance with classification ASTM E413, Determination of Sound Transmission Class. It provides an estimate of the performance of a partition in certain common sound insulation situations

specified features

, for the purposes of Clause F6, means the following:
(a) building elements that may act as obstructions: 
(b) safety features required under clauses of this code other than Clause F6 (for example, handrails required under Clause D1): 
(c) changes in direction: 
(d) stairs and ramps: 
(e) escape doors: 
(f) entries to a safe place

specified intended life

has the meaning ascribed to it by subsection (2) of section 39 of the Act as follows: “Specified intended life”, in relation to a building, means the period of time, as stated in an application for a building consent or in the consent itself, for which the building is proposed to be used for its intended use

stability

in the context of fire protection, the time in minutes for which a prototype specimen of a primary element, when subjected to the standard test for fire resistance, has continued to carry its fire design load without failure

standard year

for the purposes of determining natural lighting, the hours between 8 am and 5 pm each day with an allowance being made for daylight saving

surface water

all naturally occurring water, other than sub-surface water, which results from rainfall on the site or water flowing onto the site, including that flowing from a drain, stream, river, lake or sea

T

territorial authority

has the meaning ascribed to it by section 2 of the Local Government Act 1974; and includes any organisation which is authorised to permit structures pursuant to section 12(1)(b) of the Resource Management Act 1991

thermal resistance

the resistance to heat flow of a given component of a building element. It is equal to the air temperature difference (°C) needed to produce unit heat flux (W/m2) through unit area (m2) under steady conditions. The units are °Cm2/W

total wall area

, in relation to a building, means the sum (expressed in square metres) of the following:
(a) the wall area of the building; and 
(b) the area (expressed in square metres) of all vertical glazing in external walls of the building

travel distance

the length of the escape route as a whole or the individual lengths of its parts, namely:
(a) open paths; 
(b) protected paths; and 
(c) safe paths

W

wall area

, in relation to a building, means the area (expressed in square metres) of internally exposed external walls, including any door openings, of the building

water main

a water supply pipe that is under the control of, or maintained by a network utility operator

water supply system

pipes, fittings and tanks used or intended to be used for the storage and reticulation of water from a water main or other water source, to sanitary fixtures, sanitary appliances and fittings within a building.


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