Glossary of terms



Acceptable Solution

A prescriptive design solution approved by the BIA as a way of complying with the Building Code. Acceptable Solutions are published in the Approved Documents and often quote familiar documents such as New Zealand Standards.


A certificate of accreditation issued by the BIA states that a specific building product, system or method meets nominated provisions of the Building Code.

Alternative Solution

A design solution which differs totally or partially from solutions given in the Approved Documents yet complies with the Building Code. These are stand-alone solutions, considered and approved on their individual merits by a territorial authority (TA) or building certifier.


A certificate or report issued by a person or organisation stating an opinion that a building product, system or method is suitable for some purpose.

Approved Documents

Documents issued by the BIA. They comprise Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods that provide methods of compliance with the Building Code. The methods describe a particular way of complying and it is not mandatory that they should be followed.

Building Act

An Act of Parliament that commenced on 15 February 1992. Its purposes include providing for necessary controls relating to building work and the use of buildings and for ensuring that buildings are safe and sanitary and have means of escape from fire.

Building Certifier

A privately employed person or organisation approved and registered by the BIA to check plans and specifications and building work during construction. Owners have the choice of employing building certifiers as alternatives to council (territorial authority) building officers.

Building Code

The First Schedule of the Building Regulations 1992 for prescribing the functional requirements for buildings and the performance criteria with which new building work must comply. Compliance with the Building Code is mandatory.

Building Consent

A consent for building work to begin in accordance with the approved plans and specifications. It is issued by the territorial authority and includes plumbing and drainage work.

Building Industry Authority (BIA) 

An independent Crown entity established in 1992. Its fundamental purpose is to manage New Zealand’s building legislation.

Building Wrap

A building paper or underlay placed behind cladding systems to assist the control of moisture by ensuring any condensation or moisture behind the cladding system is directed to the exterior of the building.

Cantilevered Balcony

A balcony reliant on the extension of framing members, such as beams or joists from the face of a building for its structural stability, i.e. no support is provided at the outer extremities of the balcony.


External wall coverings such as timber or plaster.

Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) 

A certificate issued by a territorial authority or building certifier at the completion of building work, confirming that the building work under the building consent complies with the relevant provisions of the Building Code.


(meaning, in the context of weathertightness),

where a building material has been affected by moisture to such an extent that the properties of that building material may jeopardise, weaken and / or prejudice the future performance of the building element. 


District Plan

A document prepared and issued by a territorial authority (TA) outlining how the TA proposes to maintain and develop its district. The height and location requirements of each TA can be found in its respective District Plan.

Drainage Plane

The plane, generally formed by a cavity, immediately behind a cladding system. This allows water that penetrates the cladding system to drain to the exterior of the building.


That part of the underside of a roof that extends beyond the external walls of a building. Also known as a soffit.

Edging Strip

Strip, not necessarily of timber, planted flush with the edge of an item to increase the edge face dimension, to achieve a finish or to act as a protection. 


The difference from a nominated reference surface (such as sea-level, or a mathematical / geodetic model that approximates the sea level known as the geoid



The face, or front of a building. 

Face-Sealed Cladding System

A cladding system that relies on a protective coating applied to the face of the cladding to seal and prevent the penetration of water.


An article intended to remain permanently attached to and form part of a building. (NZBC) 


Galvanised steel or other impervious material used in parts of a building to prevent penetration of moisture where different components meet. 

Functional Requirement

A term in the Building Code used to describe what is required of the building work so that the objectives of the particular Building Code Clause will be met.


Group Housing Company

A larger housing company building more than 100 homes per year.


Of or pertaining to both humidity and temperature.


Junction of similar or dissimilar materials. 


A horizontal framing member to which is fixed floor decking or ceiling linings and which is identified accordingly as a floor joist or ceiling joist. 

Junction (Drainlaying)

Specially prepared pipe with a socket to receive a branch pipe. 


Platform at the termination of one or more flights of stairs. 

LIM (Land Information Memorandum)

A report issued by a TA containing all the information held by the TA relevant to a specific property.

Moisture Content

The amount of moisture in timber expressed as a percentage of its oven-dry weight. 


  1. Pattern by which something is shaped, for example, the template used by a bricklayer or plasterer.
  2. Hollow form into which material is poured or pressed and allowed to cool or harden so as to assume a particular shape.
  3. Superficial growth of fungus which usually appears in the form of a woolly or furry coating

Monolithic Cladding

A cladding of sheet material with an applied coating to give the appearance of a seamless cladding, often imitating concrete, masonry or plaster.

Occupation Certificate

A certificate that the ‘Report’ recommends should be issued by a TA or building certifier certifying that a building is completed to the extent that it is safe and fit for occupation.

Overview Group

An independent group commissioned by the BIA to investigate the issue of building weathertightness.


The extension of a wall beyond the roof line. A parapet has its top and both sides exposed to the weather.

Performance (Requirement)

A term in the Building Code used to describe either qualitively or quantitively how far the building work must go in meeting the particular Building Code Clause’s objectives and functional requirements.

Producer Statement

A statement confirming that plans, specifications or completed works for all or a specific part of a building comply with certain technical requirements that will satisfy the Building Code.



(meaning, in the context of weather tightness),

The action of remedying defects and damage by knowledgeable investigation, measured design and quality construction. 

Resource Consent

A land use consent, issued in terms of the Resource Management Act 1991, by the TA for land use not designated a permitted activity in the TA’s District Plan. For example wishing to locate a building closer to the boundary than that permitted by the District Plan.


Territorial Authority (TA)

A City or District Council. The TA enforces the Building Act and Building Regulations in its territory.

Verification Method

A prescriptive calculation or test procedure approved by the BIA as a way of complying with the Building Code. Verification Methods are published in the Approved Documents.


The term used to describe the resistance of a building to the weather. Weathertightness is not necessarily waterproofing, but rather ensuring against undue dampness inside buildings and damage to building elements.