New Regulations Introduced - Important for You
New regulations were introduced on January 1 2015 that are a major change to the way you have interacted with your building professionals.
These include mandatory contracts for work over $30,000, financial and history disclosures from your builder, a clear understanding of the scope of work to be carried out and that the builder has to ensure that you, the client, be 'informed' about building. The Ministry have only pointed people to the Building Act to fulfil this aspect, but we think reading 450+ pages of legal writing with 90% of it irrelevent to you a little over the top, not to mention that it misses any explanation around what happens in the design process, the construction process, what your product options are and other aspects that play an important role in the positive outcome of your project. The fortunate thing is that by coming to the Building Guide site, you've come to the right place, so read on...
The review proposes that, with full implementation of licensing there is potential for a more risk-based approach to the building consent process, reflecting the competence (ie, licensing) of those doing the work. For example, the number of inspections for a straightforward new house could be cut from the current 12-15 down to four.
Fewer inspections would mean lower consenting costs and faster building times: When licensing is in full swing thousands of dollars could be knocked off the cost of a standard house.
The Building Act
Building work in New Zealand is controlled by the Building Act 2004 and the various Building Regulations which includes the building code.
The legislation is administered nationally by the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) and on a local basis by building consent authorities using a building consent process.
The purpose of the Act is to ensure that buildings:
- Are safe, sanitary and have suitable means of escape from fire; and
- Contribute to the physical independence and well being of people who use them
- Are designed, constructed and able to be used in ways that promote sustainable development.
The regulations prescribe the Building Code with which all building work must comply. Performance standards that must be met include building:
- Fire safety
- Sanitation (services and facilities)
- Moisture control
- Energy efficiency
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You must have a Building Consent to carry out "building work". A Resource Consent and other authorisations may also be required before building work can commence. One or more of each consent type may be required for the same project.
Note: Building Consents authorise "building work" not land use, and Resource Consents authorise land use and not building work.
What is a Building?
A building is any temporary or permanent, movable or immovable structure and its service connections. It includes temporary structures such as marquees. Please note this list is not exhaustive and you should check with your BCA prior to commencing work.
The Council's role under the Act
Council is both a building consent authority (BCA) and a territorial authority (TA) under the Building Act. Its function is to:
- Administer the Building Act 2004 in its territorial district
- Enforce the Building Code
- Receive and consider applications for Building Consents
- Approve or refuse building consent applications within the prescribed time limits
- Issue Project Information Memoranda (PIM)
- Issue Code Compliance Certificates
- Receive and consider applications for Certificates of Acceptance (COA)
- Receive and consider applications for Certificates for Public Use (CPU)
- Issue Notices to Fix
- Issue Compliance Schedules
- Record building Warrant of Fitness details
- Determine whether applications for waiver or modification of the building code, or documents for use in establishing compliance with the provisions of the building code should be granted or refused
- Maintain a building records system available for public access for the life of the building to which it relates