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A) Health, Safety & Wellbeing

B) New Zealand Standards & International Design Guidance

C) Technical Guidance and Technical Reports

D) Relevant Building and Commercial Legislation

E) Contractual Aspects

F) Links to Selected New Zealand Construction Industry Organisations

G) Links to international Precast and Concrete Industry Organisations



A) Health, Safety & Wellbeing
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and the WorkSafe NZ good practice guide Safe Work With Precast Concrete make it clear there is now a collective responsibility for all aspects of construction in precast concrete, including design, lifting, handling and erection on site.

Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) is an accredited charitable trust that has been developed to deliver a unified voice and to raise the standard of health and safety across the whole of the New Zealand construction industry.

MATES in Construction New Zealand have developed the MATES programme to build and strengthencommunities in the workplace and across the construction industry – helping people to be supportive and provide an environment that encourages positive wellbeing.


B) New Zealand Standards and International Design Guidance
The following New Zealand Standards are particularly relevant to the design and production of precast concrete. They are available free along with other concrete related standards from Standards New Zealand.

Precast concrete design guides are available for purchase from a number of overseas organisations. Recommended publications include:

The web sites of these organisations also offer a range of free brochures covering many aspects of precast concrete. These include the Little Book of Concrete available from the National Precast Concrete Association Australia (NPCAA) which takes a fresh look at precast concrete and what it can offer.


C) Technical Guidance and Technical Reports

Low Damage Design
Recent earthquakes in New Zealand have shown the need for buildings that will not only protect life, but will also survive a major event without loss of functionality for an extended period.

Buildings that used Low damage technologies demonstrated excellent seismic performance in the recent major seismic events with no loss of functionality and minimal if any repair required to finishes or services. This proved that the industry already know how to design and construct better buildings with little if any added cost.

Concrete NZ has produced a series of short videos on Damage Resistant Design and work is ongoing to develop further guidance based on more recent research and laboratory tests (link to work of Rick Henry) building on the experience and lessons learned from these earthquakes.

  • Base Isolation – This technology that was first developed in New Zealand has been refined over the years and is now accepted as a major contributor to seismic survivability of structures in many countries.
  • PREstressed Seismic Structural System (PRESSS) – This technology allows buildings to accommodate seismically induced movements without damage and without permanent deformation.
  • Non-Tearing Joints (Slotted Beams) – Deformations forced by seismic activity can cause permanent elongation to structural members that can cause further damage to connected elements. Research and testing at Canterbury University covers a method of overcoming this.

Floor & Shell Beam Notes for Designers
This document provides guidance for designers and users of prestressed precast floor systems and shell beams.

Rib & Infill Floor Construction Guide
This 2004 document provides guidance on the construction of prestressed rib and infill suspended floor systems. 

Standard Bridge Beams
This is a 2003 Transfund NZ Research Report No 252 on Standard Precast Concrete Bridge Beams.

Strand Lifting Eyes
This 2020 report provides findings from testing conducted by Ara on the capacity of strand lifting eyes embedded in precast flat slabs and precast beams.

Precast Concrete Curing and Durability
This guidance note demonstrates that precast concrete mixes subjected to accelerated curing meet New Zealand Building Code durability requirements.

Rigging for Handling Precast Concrete Components
Smith Crane & Construction published drawings of 92 rigging configurations for demoulding, loading, transport and placement. These have been widely used within the industry and Precast NZ has been given permission to use these and make them available through this web site for general use. Standard rigging configurations can be downloaded here.

The precast manufacturer will refer to the configurations to be used at each stage, typically on a table included in the precast shop drawings. It is then up to the parties handling the units to ensure they use appropriate equipment for the configuration provided. The precast manufacturer is not responsible for improper use or overloading of any inserts or fixing devices cast into the precast units.


D) Relevant Building and Commercial Legislation

  • Building Act 2004
    The Building Act (and its Schedules and amendments) sets out the requirements that all building work in New Zealand must comply with.
  • Commerce Act 1986
    The Commerce Act (and its Schedules and amendments) applies to all commercial activity. An organisation such as the Concrete NZ Precast Sector Group comprising members that are competitors, must take particular steps to ensure its activities do not contravene the anti-competitive requirements. The Commerce Commission has developed a useful fact sheet Commerce Act - Trade Associations that explains key sections of the Commerce Act for businesses and trade associations.
  • Construction Contracts Act 2002
    This Act (and its Schedules and amendments) applies to all construction projects and covers matters concerning payments. Strict compliance with this Act and its procedures are necessary to ensure remedies are available to subcontractors in the event of disputes. The 2015 amendment made a number of changes including the requirement for retentions to be held in trust (the retentions regime is currently being reviewed which may result in this text being updated). The justification used for holding retentions is as an incentive for the subcontractor to remedy defects and to provide funds for the contractor to carry out that work if the subcontractor does not complete their work or remedials. It is recommended that all subcontractors negotiate either no retentions to be held, or reduced levels of retentions and a realistic term for them to be held.


E) Contractual Aspects
The preferred contract for being engaged by a main contractor is the Subcontract agreement SA – 2017. This document was developed by representatives of the Specialist Trade Contractors Federation and Registered Master Builders. It was first issued in 2009, and updated in 2017 to comply with changes to the Construction Contracts Act. It is aimed at ensuring obligations and responsibilities are clear by providing more information prior to entering into a binding contract thus reducing later disputes. It is available in electronic format to ensure ease of use by a main contractor. It is recommended that all subcontractors insist on the use of SA-2017.

The initial form of contract provided by a main contractor may be biased in the contractor’s favour and disadvantage the subcontractor. It is not binding unless a subcontractor agrees to it and there is no reason not to propose amendments to provide more balanced terms.


F) Links to Selected New Zealand Construction Industry Organisations

  • The NZSTCF - NZ Specialist Trade Contractors Federation (STCF) is the voice of the specialist trade / subcontracting industry in New Zealand.
  • The New Zealand Construction Industry Council (NZCIC) is a not-for-profit industry association of associations in the building and construction, design and property sectors. It is the collaborative voice of the built environment industry in New Zealand and operates at the interface between government (central and local) and industry.
  • The Construction Sector Accord is a joint commitment from New Zealand Government and the construction industry to work together to create a high performing construction sector for a better New Zealand.
  • Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) provides training and qualifications for the building and construction industry in New Zealand.
  • Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE) and its Building Performance Branch is a government body responsible for a range of matters including administering a number of building related laws such as the Building Act and the Construction Contracts Act and issuing documents that provide a means of demonstrating compliance with the Building Code.
  • Standards NZ is the national standards body for New Zealand. It is a business unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and works under the supervision of the NZ Standards Executive under the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015. Standards NZ specialise in managing the development and publication of standards and standards-related publications. Standards NZ also publish and sell New Zealand, joint Australian/New Zealand and International standards.
  • WorkSafe is New Zealand's primary workplace health and safety regulator
  • Building Research Association of NZ (BRANZ) is an independent and impartial research, testing, consulting and information company providing services and resources for the building industry. Their web site provides access to numerous useful construction related documents.
  • Registered Master Builders Association support Master Builders to build better building businesses, so they can build a better New Zealand. They work with Government and the building sector to develop and uphold high standards.


G) Links to selected International Precast Organisations and other Leading Concrete Institutions