Govt strengthens steel mesh testing rules

  • Nick Smith
Building and Housing

The Government has made changes to testing requirements to ensure all steel mesh being sold in New Zealand is up to standard, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“We’re increasing the number of samples which need to be tested, clarifying how that testing is done and requiring testing be done by internationally accredited testing laboratories,” Dr Smith says.

The updated Verification Method and Acceptable Solution will apply to all steel mesh of Grade 500E being sold in New Zealand, whether made locally or imported. The changes, which will be implemented by 30 May 2017, follow public consultation and were prompted by issues with the quality of a small amount of steel mesh, which the Commerce Commission is investigating.

“I want to ensure steel mesh used in new houses meets our standards. Ductility - the capacity of mesh to keep its strength when stretched - has been causing concern. The rules were strengthened after the Christchurch Earthquakes so steel mesh in all new homes had 10 per cent ductility, to increase the resilience of floor slabs after a quake,” Dr Smith says.

“The new requirements make it absolutely clear to industry exactly what should be tested and the standard to which that must be done. It will help ensure the product meets our 10 percent ductility requirements for residential buildings, and gives certainty to the public that the mesh used in new houses is fit-for-purpose.

“Ideally, steel mesh importers should be making sure the testing requirements are met in their supply chains but the testing can be done when the mesh comes into New Zealand. We’re in the midst of a building boom and we need to ensure quality is maintained by making sure our materials match the required standards.”