FAQs about the NZ Building Code.

What are some of the confusing questions around the changes to the NZ Building Code.

When any major change to the building code occurs, there can be either misinformation or misunderstanding based on the language used or the way it has been interpreted. Below are some of the most common questions we have received so far, however if an answer to your question is not below – you can email us here or call on 07 5738670, we are more than happy to help provide you with some clarity and then add your question to this FAQ list below.

When do the building code changes for smoke alarms take affect?

The changes to the NZ building code start in November 2023 with a transition period of 12 months. In the transition period you may still follow the previous requirements to be compliant – however most builders and electricians, large group build companies and homeowners have already started to adopt the new standards.

Do I need a mains powered smoke alarm to meet the new building code?

No. There is some confusion in NZ regarding the changes to the new building code, however it is simply down to the language used. The changes require that all smoke alarms must be interconnected, which is where the misunderstanding occurs (in the word ‘interconnected’). By some this means the alarms MUST be hardwired or mains powered, but this is not the case.

The new code states;

Equipment required must be either 10 year long-life battery-operated (non-removable/sealed) or 240v hardwired mains powered, interconnected smoke alarms.’ So either the 2107 CAV10WF battery operated smoke alarm or the 2203 CAVMP Mains (hardwired) smoke alarm will comply.

A copy of the NZ standards NZS 4514:2021 is available here or on our website here.

Where do I need to install smoke alarms to be compliant?

Smoke alarms must be located in all bedrooms, living spaces, hallways and landings within the building. In a multi-level household, there shall be at least one smoke alarm on each level. Where a kitchen or scullery is separated from the living spaces and hallways by doors that can be closed, an alarm specified by its manufacturer as suitable for a kitchen shall be located in the kitchen. This may be a heat alarm to avoid nuisance activations.