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Rule 27:
Technical specifications

How to outline technical specifications in a way that doesn't create unnecessary obstacles for suppliers.

  1. An agency must not apply technical specifications or prescribe conformance requirements in a way that creates unnecessary obstacles for suppliers.
  2. Where appropriate, technical specifications must be based on:
    1. performance and functional requirements, not on design or a prescribed licensing model or a description of their characteristics
    2. international standards where they exist, otherwise the appropriate New Zealand technical regulations, standards, or building codes.
  3. When an agency describes technical specifications, it must not (except under Rule 27.4):
    1. require or refer to a particular trademark or trade name, patent, design or type
    2. refer to the specific origin of the goods, services or works or the name of the producer or supplier.
  4. The exception to Rule 27.3 is when it is the only way to make the requirements understood. In this case, an agency must include words like ‘or equivalent’ in the specification and make it clear that it will consider equivalent goods, services or works that can be demonstrated to fulfil the requirement.

More information on using trademarks

A situation where using a trademark may be the only practical way to make requirements understood is when you are sourcing software that needs to be compatible with an existing system.

International standards

International standards are published by recognised international standards organisations. New Zealand standards are often aligned with international standards. When they are, suppliers may understand your needs more clearly if you refer to the New Zealand standard rather than the equivalent international one.

New Zealand technical regulations are mandatory for goods and services for use in, and construction works located in, New Zealand. If there is a New Zealand technical regulation applying to the goods, services or works you are sourcing, your specifications must be based on it. Examples are the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 and the Building Code in Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 1992.