NZS 3604:1999 to undergo major revision


Standards New Zealand is seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding parts of NZS 3604:1999 — the key Standard for building timber-framed houses in New Zealand — that need to be brought up to date.


Standards New Zealand will soon start a project to revise the Standard, and will be calling for nominations to the technical committee that will revise NZS 3604.


All feedback received from stakeholders will be collated and presented to the technical committee for discussion during the project.


The key objectives of the revision of NZS 3604 are to:

reflect needs of industry, and changes in materials and industry practice since the last revision was published,

reflect changes in other related Standards, such as those setting requirements for earthquake, wind, snow and other loadings that buildings should be designed to, and

consider the merits of a “whole building” design approach, as opposed to the “single member” basis of design.


There may also be additional issues requiring consideration by the technical committee during the revision process.


The specific areas that need updating are:

the AS/NZS 1170 Loadings Standard is soon to be referenced in the Compliance Documents to the New Zealand Building Code, effective 1 December 2008. NZS 3604 needs to be updated to reflect AS/NZS 1170.

The DBH Acceptable Solution E2/AS1 has superseded NZS 3604 building envelope design (weathertightness issues). NZS 3604 needs to be updated to reflect this.

NZS 3604 needs to be updated to incorporate content on bracings and durability. 

Building practices have moved on significantly in the past 10 years, and NZS 3604 needs to be updated to reflect current technical knowledge and industry practices.


The Standard is widely used by designers, builders, engineers and the construction industry, and 93% of timber-framed houses in New Zealand are built to the Standard.


It provides practical guidance on how to design and build houses to meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code, without the need for specific engineering design.


Builders should take this opportunity to inform the revision process, by supplying any relevant updated feedback on the areas they believe need revising, to Standards New Zealand.


Standards NZ advises that the four points above should be used as the base for any feedback. It says builders may wish to provide feedback on:

any aspects outside the points listed above,

any surplus or duplicate information,

any text diagram or table that needs further clarification, and

ideas on how NZS 3604 should be presented and in what media (for example, web version, CD, friendlier A5 size, improved index, present in a ring binder, include more drawings, have names of sections on dividers, make digitised versions of drawings available, and so on).


All feedback will be collated by Standards New Zealand for consideration by the technical committee that will be formed to carry out the revision of the Standard.

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