Valuable tools to help builders now online


BRANZ has launched a new Lintels and Beams online calculator and the revamped – and much anticipated – ALF3.2.

Both tools will benefit architects, designers, builders and building officials in their business operations.

The tools can be found in the Toolbox on the BRANZ home page at

Lintels and beams

This online calculator has replaced the paper version of the BRANZ Guide to Lintels and Beams.

It allows users to work out the options for a range of beam applications, and then print out the details and include them in Building Consent documentation.

Applications covered by the calculator include:

lintel supporting a roof only,

lintel supporting roof and wall,

lintel supporting roof, wall and floor,

verandah beam,

floor beam,

deck support beam,

roof beam (ridge or intermediate), and

garage door lintel.

The tool is intended for use in the design of buildings generally within the scope of NZS 3604:1999 Timber Framed Buildings, but the range of applications, loads and spans goes beyond what is in the Standard.

Users can make a calculation, entering all the required information (wind zone, roof weight, beam span etc) from drop-down menus or free entry boxes. The calculator then gives the options which match all the requirements.

Users can amend the data they input and save the calculation to a schedule. Second or subsequent calculations for the same project can then be saved to the same schedule.

Each calculation and each schedule will be saved for six months from the time of creation. Once the final options have been chosen, the calculations can be purchased and a detailed print out of the chosen lintels and beams made.

This detailed printout can then accompany a building consent application.

Payment is not required until the final calculations are confirmed. Then a fee of $75 + GST per final calculation will be incurred. However, until 30 April 2009, an introductory fee of only $50 + GST will apply.


ALF (Annual Loss Factor) is a design tool for determining the efficiency requirement for housing and small buildings.

It has been updated to take into consideration the new (third edition) New Zealand Building Code clause for H1 insulation requirements in New Zealand.

ALF is still as easy to use as ever, but is now web-based and free. It is presented in a step-by-step format, providing a simple method of calculating the energy performance of conventional New Zealand houses.

ALF3.2 can calculate the Building Performance Index (BPI), which can be used to show compliance with the Energy Efficiency Clause H1 of the New Zealand Building Code.

The ALF calculation allows the user to:

calculate the annual heating energy for a house design,

evaluate the effect on heating energy with increased insulation and different types of glazing and frames,

compare different building and window orientation,

determine levels of insulation for existing houses,

generate a report showing H1 compliance that is suitable for submission to councils to support building consent applications, and

calculate buildings’ losses and show/indicate ‘weak’ areas of the thermal envelope.

ALF3.2 can provide an understanding of how heating habits will affect heating requirements. It can also consider the energy use implications in retrofit options for existing buildings.