For a lot of aspects of the New Zealand Building Code, it is up to local councils to enforce the rules and ensure the safety of our construction industry. But for some aspects of the sector, there has been a bit of an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

According to Aaron Dando from Dando Timber Doors and Windows, this has been the general approach to timber joinery for essentially the past hundred years. However, that’s all about to change – and anyone that doesn’t keep up could find themselves out of step – and out of pocket.

A change in regulation
As part of Master Joiners, Aaron has understood the changes that have been slowly introduced over the last few years when it comes to timber joinery. All such products now have to comply with weathertightness standard NZS:4211, which is the bar that aluminium joinery has had to pass since its introduction to the market.

​​​​​​​“Under the Building Code, timber is also supposed to comply –

but there’s never been a problem with it, so regulation hasn’t been as tight at inspection,” Aaron says.
But since this formalisation of the regulation of timber joinery, Auckland Council has also issued a notice, stating it requires all joinery to comply – or homes will fail their building inspections. Another part of NZS:4211 is the requirement that all timber joinery needs to be tagged or marked with the name of the manufacturer and the codes it complies with.

It has meant a shift in production, and all members of Master Joiners pooling together considerable time and resources to secure the right equipment to test timber joinery for weathertightness so it is up to code. Dando says they have trained and upskilled all of their staff, adjusted the products they make significantly, and are now up to code.

“It’s been 18-24 months of incredibly hard work, but we’re up to speed now and ready to help everyone else get up to speed,” he says.

What does this mean for architects?
While Master Joiners and Dando have been on top of these council changes to timber joinery requirements, many builders, architects and specifiers are not.

“The code applies to all and any timber joinery, whether it’s on existing consented drawings or not,” Aaron says. “It will catch some people out now that council is enforcing the code, which is going to be very costly.”

“A lot of work done on villas around central Auckland can cost upwards of $40,000 for doors and windows – if the joinery isn’t up to code and gets rejected, it’ll have to be made again.”

Aaron says the team at Dando haven’t just been working for two years to teach themselves the new way of working – it’s to help everyone around them. They can assist architects and designers about the new joinery specifications, how they need to be drawn up, and they’re also about to launch a showroom range of ready to go, NZS4211 compliant timber joinery, so no wait time is required.

Don’t get caught out by the update – get in touch with Dando to learn what you need and get ahead of the code.