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Although the information contained in this Code has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, New Zealand Metal Roofing Manufacturers Inc. makes no warranties or representations of any kind (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, currency or completeness of the information, or that it is suitable for the intended use.

Compliance with this Code does not guarantee immunity from breach of any statutory requirements, the New Zealand Building Code or relevant Standards. The final responsibility for the correct design and specification rests with the designer and for its satisfactory execution with the contractor.

While most data have been compiled from case histories, trade experience and testing, small changes in the environment can produce marked differences in performance. The decision to use a particular material, and in what manner, is made at your own risk. The use of a particular material and method may, therefore, need to be modified to its intended end use and environment.

New Zealand Metal Roofing Manufacturers Inc., its directors, officers or employees shall not be responsible for any direct, indirect or special loss or damage arising from, as a consequence of, use of or reliance upon any information contained in this Code.

New Zealand Metal Roofing Manufacturers Inc. expressly disclaims any liability which is based on or arises out of the information or any errors, omissions or misstatements.

If reprinted, reproduced or used in any form, the New Zealand Metal Roofing Manufacturers Inc. (NZMRM) should be acknowledged as the source of information.

You should always refer to the current online Code of Practicefor the most recent updates on information contained in this Code.


This Code of Practice provides requirements, information and guidelines, to the Building Consent Authorities, the Building Certifier, Specifier, Designer, Licensed Building Practitioner, Trade Trainee, Installer and the end user on the design, installation, performance, and transportation of all metal roof and wall cladding used in New Zealand.

The calculations and the details contained in this Code of Practice provide a means of complying with the performance provisions of the NZBC and the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The scope of this document includes all buildings covered by NZS 3604, AS/NZS 1170 and those designed and built under specific engineering design.

It has been written and compiled from proven performance and cites a standard of acceptable practice agreed between manufacturers and roofing contractors.

The drawings and requirements contained in this Code illustrate acceptable trade practice, but recommended or better trade practice is also quoted as being a preferred alternative.

Because the environment and wind categories vary throughout New Zealand, acceptable trade practice must be altered accordingly; in severe environments and high wind design load categories, the requirements of the NZBC will only be met by using specific detailing as described in this Code.

The purpose of this Code of Practice is to present both Acceptable Trade Practice and Recommended Trade Practice, in a user-friendly format to ensure that the roof and wall cladding, flashings, drainage accessories, and fastenings will:

  • comply with the requirements of B1, B2, E1 E2 and E3 of the NZBC;
  • comply with the design loading requirements of AS/NZS 1170 and NZS 3604 and with AS/NZS 1562;
  • have and optimised lifespan; and
  • be weathertight.

COP v24.06:Roofing; Thermal-Expansion-And-Contraction

7.3 Thermal Expansion And Contraction 

All metal cladding and flashings are subject to expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature, and their design should allow for this movement. The energy produced should be absorbed without damage to the cladding, fixings or structure. The recommendations in this section are specific to preventing damage and leaks through thermal movement. Thermal movement can also cause disturbing noise levels in dwellings with shorter member lengths than those recommended in this section. (See 12.1 Roof Noise.)

The ribs of metal trapezoidal or corrugated roof and wall cladding absorb expansion across the width of the sheets, but special provisions are needed over the sheets' length.

Much of the longitudinal expansion is taken up by the bowing of the sheet between fastened supports. The extent to which this happens depends on the profile strength and support spacings.

Failure by thermal expansion normally results in shearing of the fastener. Fasteners into lightweight steel purlins up to 3 mm in thickness are less vulnerable as they tend to rotate rather than be subjected to repeated bending resulting in fatigue failure. Fasteners into hot rolled steel sections or timber are far more vulnerable to this mode of failure and in all run lengths over 20 metres provision for expansion must be made when fastening into such supports.

Where overlapping sheets are fastened through the ends, they must be considered as one length to calculate thermal movement. Unfastened end laps are not recommended.

Wall cladding does not require the same provisions as roof cladding, because of solar radiation angle.

Oversized holes and washers give some room for expansion and contraction, but it is not enough to allow movement without stress or distortion over long spans. In such cases, a step joint should be used. (See Stepped Roof Flashing)

7.3.1 Temperature Range 


Ranges of temperature likely to be experienced in NZ by different steel cladding are:

7.3.1A Steel Cladding Temperature Ranges

  Max/Min Roof Temp °C No Wind
InsulatedLight colour+60° -15°=75°
InsulatedDark colour+80° -15°=95°
UninsulatedLight colour+50° -10°=60°
UninsulatedDark colour+65° -10°=75°

Aluminium and zinc, which have twice the expansion rate of steel, do not necessarily expand to this degree because of the different characteristics of mass, emittance, and radiance which affects their temperature range. Copper expands one and a half times as much as steel, and stainless steel can expand up to 1.5 times as much as steel depending on composition.

The theoretical expansion of steel roof cladding in mm is 12 x temperature change x length in metres/1000.

Steel expansion rates can be calculated as follows:

Given a length (e.g., 30 m) and that the material (e.g., a light-coloured uninsulated roof) moves through a 60°C range (e.g., + 50°C -10°C), the theoretical increase in length is 12 x 60 x 30/1000 = 21.6 mm.

This amount of movement of roof cladding and components does not have to be provided for in practice, because:

  • The building also expands with the ambient temperature, although to a lesser degree.
  • Fasteners into light gauge purlins will roll rather than bend. The purlin flange may also roll to a degree.
  • The roof cladding bows between purlins when it is constrained. Sighting down a corrugated steel roof on a warm sunny day will show an undulating line compared to a straight line when the roof is cool. The forces created by expansion and contraction are self-levelling, i.e., each component moves under load until the resisting force is more than the expansion force.
  • When a length of sheeting is solid fastened at the centre and unconstrained at either end, the movement is towards the ends of the sheeting; meaning the actual expansion or contraction movement is only half that of a full length of roof or wall cladding fastened at one end. Special design of the ridge or head barge flashing is required in these cases to allow free movement. Alternatively, sheets can be solidly fixed at the upper region, so all expansion takes place in the lower part of the sheet towards the eaves.

7.3.2 Roof Cladding Expansion Provisions 


The expansion of roof cladding depends on the materials, the constraints imposed by the fixing, the heat paths in the building and the actual temperature. The following graphics are indicative of favourable and unfavourable conditions for thermal expansion and suggest what these are. They show the lengths under both sets of conditions above which special provision needs to be made to accomodate thermal expansion.



  1. Roofs requiring oversized holes are solid fixed towards the ridge and provision for expansion is made towards the gutter line.
  2. These are guidelines only and special engineering of the roof, fixing or ventilation may allow greater spans to be used.
  3. These diagrams refer only to roof cladding screwed through the top. Secret or clip-fixed roofs can move more freely if installed correctly and allow for greater run lengths.
  4. The recommendations are based on preventing damage to the fasteners and are not recommendations to prevent roof noise.