The 1991 Building Act changed the regulation of lifts and escalators in New Zealand from a centralised regulatory structure overseen by the Ministry of Transport in compliance with the prescriptive Boilers Lifts and Cranes Act, to local council and private regulation using the performance based Building Regulations 1992 and the Building Code handbook.
The prescriptive Power Lift Rules 1989 was initially adopted and deemed an Approved Solution (D2/AS1), meaning that if you installed a lift and nominated this standard for it’s design and installation, it is recognised as an acceptable solution under the Building Act and has to be given consent to proceed. A New Zealand Standard titled NZS 4332P:1994 followed, which was subsequently revised and issued as a full standard NZS4332:1997, which remains today.
EN115, the European standard for escalators was adopted as the acceptable solution for escalators and autowalks (D2/AS3), and along with the local Under 1HP code for service and domestic lifts, (D2/AS2), are still the only three approved solutions under the Act.
he performance requirements were written into the Building Regulations First Schedule under D2 - Mechanical Installations for Access to Buildings. It is now possible to compare an alternative design against these performance requirements and submit it for approval to local Territorial Authorities TA's) or Building Consent Authority (BCA's).
In 2004 earlier grumblings about weather tightness of buildings and issue of a report on "Leaky Buildings" in New Zealand, saw the Labour Government initiate a complete restructure of the 1991 Act which will continue through now until 2009.
A stringent Handicap Access Standard (NZS 4121), a local Seismic code (NZS 4203) and local electrical and fire requirements effect all installations of imported equipment, and need to be addressed when bringing lift equipment in from overseas for installation in NZ.
The basic certification process requires that a Consent Application be initiated through the local council (territoral authority) where the equipment is to be installed. This should indicate the design solution, standard or code that the installation is intended to meet. Remember an alternative solution has to be acceptable to a TA or Building Certifier before consent is given, where as a consent application for an approved solution should proceed without question.
The design and installation then needs to be certified, either by presentation of initial producer statements and certificates to the TA or a private Building Certifier for Lifts, whereby inspection and finalising of documentation will be arranged at the conclusion of installation.
When this documentation and testing is satisfactorily completed, a Building Compliance Schedule and a Building Statement of Fitness will be issue by the TA to the building owner, identifying the code under which it was installed, maintenance and annual inspections necessary for the equipment.
Subsequent annual inspections of the equipment will be carried out by Independent Qualified Persons (IQP’s) who are registered with the local TA. Where companies are ISO 9000 certified, selected employees may conduct these tests. Upon completion of subsequent annual IQP inspections the building owner will issue a Building Warrant of Fitness for the building, forwarding a copy to the TA.
The BIA was restructured and added to as a full blown Deprtment of Building and Housing emerged, taking over the role of the BIA. Much discussion and vested interest input resulted in the renaming of nearly all functions of the past Act, tripling the size of the document.