Restricted Building Work Now in Effect – What That Means to You


On 1 March 2012 new Restricted Building Work rules took effect throughout New Zealand. In summary, these rules mean that most building or renovation work must be designed and supervised by a Licensed Building Practitioner (a licensed designer, registered architect, or a chartered engineer). From this point forward, you must ensure that you use correctly licensed practitioners and registered tradespersons for all projects that will affect the structural integrity or weather tightness of a home or business renovation, upgrade, retail fit-out, growth or contracting project.

Designers, carpenters, roofers, external plasterers, bricklayers, foundations specialists, as well as professional engineers, architects, plumbers and gasfitters are now treated as Licensed Building Practitioners and can carry out some Restricted Building Work. While this certainly means an end to many “do it yourself” projects, it is also bad news for builders who do not fall under the category of Licensed Building Practitioners.

Many of the routine things that builders have done in the past are now labelled as Restricted Building Work. Now, when builders (or anyone) apply for a building consent, they will need a memorandum or Certificate of Design Work from a Licensed Building Practitioner. All professionals involved have now been advised to take photos of the work as they go. This new accountability for the professionals that you employ not only means that the cost for quality alterations will increase, but it also means that paperwork, red tape and extra liabilities for all involved in project will increase as well.

The burden of finding qualified experts that understand the proper channels necessary to obtain and properly execute a building consent will fall to property owners or tenants. It will be the owner’s or tenant’s responsibility to check that the people they are using for a build are licensed for the type of restricted building work they are having done. The penalties for failing to find competent, licensed specialists are costly, but more importantly a building consent will not receive sign off unless the registered personnel have provided certification.

It is vital to get the process correct from the start. Employing a consent specialist from the initial project planning stages will ensure the project is well managed from the beginning. It’s also important to remember that while a lot of work requires a Building Consent, not all work will require a Licensed Building Practitioner.

A few examples of building work that requires a building consent, but don’t necessarily contain Restricted Building Work:

Fitting new sanitary fixtures where there were not any previously

Installation of a wood burner

Domestic swimming pool, installing a cable car to a home

Installing other systems in small apartments (e.g. smoke alarms, lift, HVAC system)

Installing insulation to external walls in a home.

In conclusion, by involving a competent consent specialist from the very beginning, one can ensure that the continuously growing red tape associated with a building consent is handled properly from the start. A skilled building consent expert will walk you through the consent process; and pair you with practiced, licensed professionals that understand regulations and rules to ensure that you have quality workmanship and results that make you happy. They will help you effectively navigate the bureaucracy, and simplify the planning process.


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