Building Code Decisions Made On Lead In Plumbing Products And Hollow-core Flooring To Improve Health And Safety

Following consultation earlier this year on proposed
changes to the Building Code, the Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has today announced
decisions on lead in new plumbing products and hollow-core
flooring systems.

Feedback from the consultation has
shown a clear mandate to change the requirements for new
plumbing products containing lead, and strong sector support
to remove compliance pathways for new hollow-core flooring
systems, Dr Dave Gittings, Manager Building Performance and
Engineering says.

“The consultation received over
one hundred detailed submissions and comments and this
feedback has been used to inform the decisions announced
today. As part of the consultation we asked whether the
maximum allowable lead content for plumbing products that
come into contact with potable water should be reduced to a
weighted average of 0.25%, in alignment with requirements in
Australia.

“There was overwhelming sector support
for the proposal, with over 90 per cent of submissions
responding in support of the potential health benefits of
the proposed change and therefore this change has been
confirmed.

“This change to the acceptable solution
for new plumbing products in the Building Code will take
effect from September 2025, to allow for time to raise
awareness of the changes and provide manufacturers time to
comply with the requirements”.

A proposal to remove
the deemed to comply pathway in the Building Code for new
hollow-core flooring systems was also consulted on and
received significant sector support.

“The proposal
was made as a result of recent research which indicated that
these floor systems behave poorly in seismic events,” says
Dr Gittings.

“92 per cent of submitters supported
removing the compliance pathway for new hollow-core floor
systems and this change will take effect when MBIE publishes
the revised verification method in November
2023.

“There has been a downward trend in the use of
hollow-core floor systems following the 2016 Kaikōura
earthquake. Removing this compliance pathway will minimise
the chance of poorly designed flooring systems being
specified in new building work, improving the safety and
quality of our future buildings.”

MBIE will now
continue to work through the submissions from respondents on
the proposed changes to protection from fire, and the other
plumbing and drainage proposals to ensure all points of view
and feedback are considered.

“Decisions on the
remaining proposals will be announced prior to publishing
the documents to ensure the sector and public are given as
much notice of pending change as possible,” says Dr
Gittings.

“Changes to the Building Code acceptable
solutions and verification methods will be published in
November 2023, with all except the hollow-core floor system
changes having a transition period of at least 12
months.

“The Building Code updates and consultations
are key factors in keeping the building system up to date as
our knowledge and understanding expands in this modern and
ever-changing building environment.

“MBIE is
committed to updating the Building Code so that it keeps
pace with innovation, current construction methods and the
needs of modern society.”

You can read the Lead
in plumbing products outcome document
here, and the Structural
stability of hollow-core floors outcome document

here.

You can find more information on the 2022
Building Code update on the Building
Performance
website
.

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