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Writing standards for performance based building regulations. Conditions to be fulfilled

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Author: Scholten, N.P.M. · Walters, W. · Nouwen, R.
Source:CIB World Building Congress 2001, Wellington, New Zeeland, 2-6 April, 1-11
Identifier: 329727
Article number: 171
Keywords: Architecture and Building · Building regulations · Performance standards · Criteria · Practical experience in codewriting · ICT-tools


The Dutch Building Decree, a general administrative measure based on the Housing Act, is expressed in performance requirements. In each clause the performance requirement is based on a functional definit-ion. This definition expresses the intention of the performance requirement. The performance requirement consists of a limit value and a determination method. By the limit value the level of perfor-mance is indicated that minimally has to be attained. For the determination method the Decree usually refers to a standard of the Dutch Standardisation Institute. So (elements of) standards form legal part of the Decree. For this reason Dutch standards, referred in the Decree, shall fulfil specific criteria. They have to follow the conceptual modelling used for writing the Decree. Self-evident they have to be performance based. The objectives should be in line with the Decree. The terms and definitions have to follow these from the Housing Act and the Building Decree. The boundary conditions to use the standards or elements from the standard should be clear. The standards shall not be in conflict with the policy of the government. In a policy paper, dated 1985, the conditions to be fulfilled have been written down. In four TNO-reports frameworks for 4 kinds of standards (aspect- or product-, measuring, calculation or testing standard) are presented. Frequently a standard refers to other standards. These references shall be dated and specific (reference to specific clauses). The chain of references shall be consequent and as short as possible. If standards do not fulfil these criteria, corrections can be made by a ministerial order. However, handling a standard together with a ministerial order makes regulations complex en user-unfriendly. In the period 1992 till 1997 such complex regulations did exist. To reach the ideal situation between the Decree and the standards several great projects in the Netherlands have been carried out. In the period 1985-1992 the "Action plan Building Decree and stand-ards", reformulating more then 80 standards, have been revised. Between 1992 and 1995 standards have been produced for judging existing works. In 1996 and 1997 the standards have been reformulated again to get a real 1-till-l-relation between the Decree and the standards. From that moment the ministerial orders include only a few technical clauses to read together with the standards. A computer program "NENREF" has been developed to handle all references between the Decree, the ministerial orders and the clauses of the whole package of standards. This program helps standardwriters to write better standards and to overlook all relations between the clauses of the standards.