You may have heard that the NZS3910 standard is undergoing some changes. If you are unaware of this standard, to put it simply, it is probably the most common standard form of contract used in New Zealand and sets the rules for everyone involved in a construction project. This includes the principal, contractor, and engineer. It ensures that all important details are covered, and risks are shared fairly. However, as the construction industry evolves, so does the need for a standard that reflects how the industry moves forward..
Standards New Zealand is working on revising the current NZS3910. The goal is to make it simpler, clearer, and more widely accepted in the construction industry. Hopefully, this will result in fewer special conditions and a standard that works well for everyone involved in a construction project. The goal of the revision is to provide a user-friendly standard. One that is up-to-date with the changing needs of the construction industry.
If you’re currently working in or looking to enter the construction industry, these changes are worth paying attention to. We’ve read the review process and broken it down into key takeaways.
Scoping the Review
Standards New Zealand is looking at a lot of different topics. They’ve broken it down into five groups to make it easier to handle. These groups have committee members, each focusing on a specific area. The main groups are
- Tendering conditions
- Fixing defects
The groups meet to discuss the issues in their area, figure out the problems, come up with solutions, and make proposals.
The committee started by looking at a few of the main topics. Some of these topics include:
- The engineer’s role in the contract
- Changing plans
- Working with contractors early on
- Solving disagreements
They’ll go over each topic to guide the working groups and ensure they know what to focus on when coming up with options for the review.
The committee has a 5-step plan for each topic. First, the working group will gather information about the topic and what’s been done before. Next, they’ll analyse the problem to understand it better and see if the review can help. Then, they’ll come up with options to address the problem. After that, the committee will look at the options and pick the best one. Finally, the working group will turn their preferred option into a draft for the committee to review.
There’s a proposal to make interim changes to the standards while they do the full review. These changes are for less controversial stuff. Things like updating laws, adding a clause for the COVID pandemic, reflecting the goals of the Accord, and having an option for limiting liability. The committee is now deciding if they can include these changes in the interim update.
The Standards Approval Board approved 25 people, including a chair, to revise the NZ3910 standards. The group is made up of representatives from different organizations. The organisations include: The Association of Consulting and Engineering New Zealand, Engineering New Zealand, Civil Contractors New Zealand, the New Zealand Construction Industry Council, and the Property Council New Zealand. They’re working together to create a strong national standard. One that works well for everyone in the construction industry.
Progress, Next Steps and key dates
The NZS3910 standard is being updated because of a review done in early 2021. The New Zealand Construction Industry Council and Standards New Zealand did this review.
In October 2021, the Construction Sector Accord and Te Waihanga agreed to work together on the update, and now they have a committee in place. The members will meet to discuss what they need to change based on the review. They’re currently working on the first draft.
May 2023 – Feedback from the public
August 2023 – Vote on the changes
October 2023 – The new standards should be ready
To sum it up, updating the NZS3910 standard is important. It improves the contract process for building and civil engineering in New Zealand. A committee of 25 people from different organisations in the construction industry has broken the review into 5 parts. The public will give feedback, and the changes will be voted on in a few months.
The new standards will be ready later this year. The goal is to have a set of standards that are easy to understand and beneficial for everyone involved in construction.