In this post, we explore the importance of BRANZ appraised products and what the appraisal means for your next project.
What are BRANZ Appraisals
BRANZ appraisals are an evaluation of a building product, material, system, design or construction method that checks its compliance with the Building Code. Chances are, nearly all of the work you are doing or products you are using will have some kind of BRANZ appraisal.
Why are BRANZ appraisals important?
BRANZ appraisals are integral to building work in New Zealand because they are used as part of the consent process by Building Consent Authorities (BCAs).
While BRANZ appraisals aren’t a simple rubber-stamp testifying to the performance of a particular product, material or method, they do serve as a mark of good faith indicating that the appraised item will operate as expected and meet the Building Code.
In short, if you’re planning to use weatherboards that are BRANZ appraised, then you can be reasonably sure it will pass consent and compliance—assuming you have installed them according to the guidelines and environment set out in the appraisal.
How to work with BRANZ appraised weatherboards
BRANZ appraisals are extremely specific in their considerations. The products, materials and methods tested are examined in particular environments and under particular circumstances.
Generally, the outcome of a BRANZ appraisal is contingent to the product, material or method:
- Being used by a trained person.
- Being used in a specific location.
- Being used in specific wind zones and within certain heights.
- Being used in conjunction as part of a greater system.
In other words, it needs to be installed correctly, in the scope set out by the appraisal, to be considered valid.
What does this mean for your cladding?
Essentially, this distinction means that to work within a BRANZ appraisal (and therefore within the Building Code and consent you’ve been granted), you need to ensure you read the instructions laid out in the appraisal extremely carefully.
While this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, the reality is that it’s very easy for contractors to step outside of the bounds of the appraisal without realising it.
- Using incorrect or third-party fixings.
- Using unsuitable fixings (such as untreated steel for an exposed area).
- Using an installation method different to that laid out in the appraisal.
- Using non-compatible materials in other, nearby systems and/or products that may affect the one you are installing currently.
- Using instructions that are out of date, or for a similar (but distinctly different) model and/or product.
For this last point, note that manufacturers often change their instructions according to customer feedback and further material/product testing. It is worth checking the installation instructions laid out in the BRANZ appraisal and reconciling it against the latest instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure they are the same.
Recommended reading: Weatherboard cladding material comparison
For more information about some of the most common BRANZ-appraised weatherboard materials in the market today, check out our overview available below.