Compliant vs non-compliant sampling – does it really matter?

The not-so- nice reality of working in the meth-testing industry is having to tell someone their dream home or investment property is contaminated with methamphetamine. It’s never easy. Unfortunately, it’s the reality for many New Zealand homeowners, landlords and property

With the introduction of meth-testing standard NZS 8510 comes an industry shift towards consistency and best practice. However, at this stage, following the standard is not a legal requirement which means meth-testing companies and the services they offer can still differ.

At MTNZ, we want to make sure the meth-testing services we provide are efficient, high-quality, professional and competitively priced. We’ve talked previously about the differences between screening assessments: field vs laboratory composites and how depending on the property and situation, one may be more cost-effective than the other.

In the past couple of months, we’ve noticed a little confusion around how meth-testing companies are interpreting the standard and why some charge more than some others. There’s value in the old adage, compare “apples with apples”. It’s important when comparing meth-testing companies in New Zealand, and in particular their prices, you understand what’s included. 

Where our clients see a difference in price is dependent on:

  • number of samples
  • number of test tubes analysed by the lab
  • laboratory turnaround time

For example, a field composite (commonly referred to as a base test) for a one to three-bedroom home at MTNZ costs $189 plus GST. This is based on 10 samples, a 48-hour lab turnaround time and includes full reporting.

When broken down, this includes:

  • A $119+GST call out fee: our call out fee includes full reporting and sampling in compliance with NZS 8510. One sample is required per high use area (any area a child or adult could walk in to. All internal rooms, sheds and garages are considered high use.)
    At MTNZ, we always recommend complying with the standard as methamphetamine doesn’t disperse evenly through a house for example your kitchen may be clean but the laundry contaminated. 

A three-bedroom home with kitchen, dining room, lounge, one bathroom, one hallway, laundry and a garage, would require 10 samples. Some companies may only sample up to 8 test sites in a three-bedroom home. We believe a minimum number of 1 sample per area, which is in
accordance with NZS 8510, is the best option for sampling the entire house.

  • A $70+GST lab analysis fee: where MTNZ is unique is we guarantee a turnaround time of 48 hours, no matter what service you choose. This is all thanks to the great partnership with have with Analytica Laboratories who understand the need for urgency when it comes to renting or purchasing a property. 


Issues with non-compliance

It’s important to note that we’re aware some companies use non-compliant sampling methods or non-validated sampling kits to screen a property. As insurance companies and The Tenancy Tribunal become aware of the details of NZS8510, non-compliant testing can create a lack of confidence in the results. At MTNZ, we think it’s important to stick to best practice methods, for example using individual wipes for each sample as it’s the only way of ensuring adhesion of meth to a methanol soaked swab is consistent. If the same wipe is used multiple times, you won’t have the same amount of methanol on the last sample as you would on the first and therefore the sampling can be under-representative of the actual levels.

Non-compliant sampling can result in some companies reporting levels under NZS8510 which require more detailed sampling as confirmation. All of this will come at an additional cost to the client.

All of our services are complaint with NZS 8510 guidelines while which still providing fast, economical and effective sampling. For property managers, this limits the potential time a property is left vacant. For home buyers, it means lab-based testing and reliable results is a viable option which can be the deciding-factor in purchasing that dream home.

Whether or not a property tests positive for meth-contamination, MTNZ is here to ensure you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed and cost-effective decision. Non-compliant (not in accordance with NZS 8510) testing isn’t recommended but we understand price can often determine access to meth-testing services. If you’re concerned about the implications of such sampling methods, please get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

Kind regards,

Meth Testing New Zealand


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