NZS 4297 Engineering design of earth buildings

Closed 5 Jun 2024

Opened 14 Apr 2024


We are consulting on the draft DZ 4297 Engineering design of earth buildings.

What is NZS 4297 about? 

NZS 4297:2020 Engineering design of earth buildings is intended for use by structural engineers. Many of the structural design principles are chosen to be similar to those for reinforced masonry and reinforced concrete, and it is assumed that users of this standard will have a knowledge of design in these materials. However, earth has unique characteristics that need to be considered apart from other forms of masonry.

A note from Graeme North, the chair of the P4297 committee

After this Standard was published in 2020, MBIE/BSP undertook to assess it for citation as Acceptable Solutions to some clauses of the NZBC. After some consideration they identified a few parts of the published Standard that they considered were not yet in a form that they could readily cite.

Some Earth Building Standards Committee members also noticed a few errors of a typographical nature that had crept in, and some users of the Standards also reported a few details that could be a little clearer.  EBANZ also noted that some few minor areas of the published Standards could benefit from minor technical updates in light of changing regulations and the results of new research.

MBIE/BSP along with SNZ and the reconvened Standards Committee agreed to work together to look at the areas that might benefit from being amended.

Major changes include:

  • Updated structural analysis.
  • Removal of  unreinforced earth.

After an exhaustive process the proposed changes are now issued for Public Comment before being finally processed and incorporated into the 2020 Standards.

As Chair of the Standards Committee I would like to thank my colleagues and everyone else who has assisted with this process in a collaborative and co-operative way to bring all this work to a satisfactory conclusion .

Our end goal is to make the use of a wide range of earthen materials as easy as possible in the context of Aotearoa/New Zealand and beyond.

Consultation draft

Please find below the consultation document (DZ 4297 consultation draft) for you to view or download. 

Important to note

All submissions need to go through this portal. There is no option to upload separate files during the submission process. Documents with submissions sent to Standards New Zealand separately will not be considered by the committee.  

DZ 4297 (DZ 4297 consultation draft)


  • Building