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E3/AS1 NZBC Changes

Posted January 23, 2023

E3/AS1 has seen an update to the Building Code (BC) regarding moisture, with ramifications when it comes to flooring for your next home project,  build, or multi unit development. The Flooring Centre has been working with industry and suppliers for over a year to ascertain the regulatory authorities approach and how to manage the legislative and installation methods so as to meet these new requirements. We have included the link below. You will need to scroll to Page 16 or 3.1.1 to find the amendment regarding flooring specifically. 

READ INTERNAL MOISTURE E3/AS1

With The Flooring Centre working out of locations in Christchurch and Auckland (and with other projects dotted around the country) we are seeing slightly different requirements from different councils, with different interpretations of the legislation making it difficult to ascertain the best action. We really are trying to adapt to a moving target with suppliers scrambling to meet the requirements of firstly historical evidence and then the testing component which some councils are choosing to require. And, then there is correct installation to ensure.

There is a flow on effect throughout the industry as "E3" as it's commonly become known in the trade, effects the ways in which we manage flooring in consented builds from concept through to installation. 

For example, traditionally plans may have gone through the regulatory authority indicating tiles as hard flooring in some areas and then carpet in others. Clients would then choose their flooring once the home is closer to completion - often changing their mind. They could do that, and we would then install to meet or exceed New Zealand standards.

Now, from the conceptual stage clients/architects/builders are required to determine the type (engineered timber, laminate, hybrid) of flooring and the range they will progress with in areas within 1.5 metres of a sanitary fixture or appliance. If clients change flooring in one of these areas (either the type or the range), their consent will require an amendment. An amendment will also be required if the flooring range is no longer available. NOTE: Carpet is not impermeable or easily cleaned and can no longer be within 1.5M of a sanitary appliance out outlet which will change the traditional transition points from hard flooring to carpet. Read our hot tips to avoid RFIs below!

Let's discuss the terms "Acceptable Solution" and "Alternative Acceptable Solution" in the legislation. 

An "Acceptable Solution" which doesn't require further documentation to support the use of a product in a wet/splash area includes:

  • Sheet vinyl with sealed joints which has been sealed or coved at edges.
  • Ceramic or stone tiles
  • Concrete, steel trowel or polished finish

An "Alternative Acceptable Solution" can meet the requirement to be impervious and easily cleaned and that is what the extra documentation required will need to prove. "Alternative Acceptable Solutions" can include:

  • Hybrid
  • Laminate
  • Luxury Vinyl Tiles and Planks
  • Engineered Timber in kitchens, laundries etc. (however not in bathrooms unless stated by the manufacturer)

These products are absolutely fine to use, and we will adapt our installation method slightly to create a waterproof seal between planks in areas within 1.5 metres of an outlet and seal around the edges where required. The use of these products just needs to include supplementary documentation we can provide to you or your client.

ANOTHER NOTE: If a plan goes to council with tiles indicated throughout wet areas, the council won't look at it twice as tiles are considered an "Acceptable Solution". If a plan indicates an "Alternative Acceptable Solution" such as vinyl, laminate, hybrid or engineered timber planks, then the Council will ask for the required E3 documentation.

The Flooring Centre's E3/AS1 Hot Tips to avoid RFI's (Requests for Information).

As the legislation stands this will mean that councils may choose to no longer accept flooring selections as they have been installed in the past. So, find below a few flooring design pointers to watch out for to avoid RFIs and design changes. To get your flooring approved ensure carpet doesn't come within 1.5M of an sanitary outlet or appliance and that selected flooring is either an "Acceptable Solution" or an "Alternative Acceptable Solution" with the required documentation.

Key flooring design issues we anticipate emerging include:

  • Carpet up to the edge of island benches that have sinks or appliances. The carpet may fall within the 1.5M threshold so may have to be moved back from the island bench.
  • European laundries behind hallway cupboards off carpeted hallways... this is no longer possible if there isn't 1.5 metres between the appliance/sink and hall carpet.
  • Garage carpet under laundries in garages (which has become standard practice). This is no longer possible as the carpet doesn't meet the need for easily cleaned and impervious flooring.

While the new regulations came in 4 November 2021 we are now (late 2022 starting to see requests) from Councils for E3 documentation to support this. We have the required information and you or your clients can request this from us at anytime.

When you or your clients come into the store our teams are knowledgeable about E3 and the requirements. Once selection is made, clients can request their product specific E3 documentation.

The documentation Councils are asking for includes:

  1. Letter from the flooring manufacturer / supplier stating successful historical use and other important installation information or testing.
  2. Installation guide from Gilt Edge Industries (supplier / manufacturer of adhesives, sealants, moisture barriers and installation products that may be required. 
  3. The Flooring Centre Installation Methodology matrix, to be used in your home.

Where The Flooring Centre stands apart is our dedication to understanding and supporting all clients, from builders and architects to residential clients, regarding how E3 will effect their build, consent, budget and installation to get the job completed with as little stress as possible. 

If you have any questions, we would urge you to get in touch with our team.

The Flooring Centre Team


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