Fewer projects require building consent
15 October 2008
New Building Act exemptions mean fewer projects require building consent
The types of building projects not requiring building consent have been increased due to new changes to Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004.
Effective from 16 October 2008, the exemptions are part of a range of government initiatives to streamline the building and consent process by removing work of a low risk or minor nature from the consenting process.
Examples of building projects which no longer require a building consent include:
• Removal or alteration of a wall that is not a structural or bracing element.
• Awnings, pergolas or a veranda over a deck (15 sq m maximum).
• Installation or replacement of windows, exterior doors or roof windows, provided that structural elements are not modified.
• Alteration of dwellings to improve access for persons with disabilities, including doorway modifications and access ramps, but excluding wet area accessible showers.
• Internal shop or office fit out where the work does not modify, or require modifications to, any specified systems or means of escape from fire.
• Alterations to existing plumbing in bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and toilets, including minor drainage alteration (e.g. shifting a gully trap) but excluding new connections to services. Any such alterations must be carried out by a registered plumber in accordance with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 1976.
• Erecting tents and marquees of up to 100sq m where they are for private use and up to 50sq m where they are intended for public assembly.
However, while the Building Act provides for the above exemptions, the work must still comply with other legislation, such as the New Zealand Building Code, the Resource Management Act, the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act, the Electricity Act, the Health Act and local government bylaws.
“The law change is essentially good news for the council and for builders and property owners. It’s enabling us to streamline the building consent process and gives people the opportunity to undertake a greater number of building projects without the extra cost and time associated with seeking council approval for it,” says Councillor Vanessa Neeson, chairman of the council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee.
The Department for Building and Health advises owners and builders to read Schedule 1 in full to assess whether or not their work requires consent before starting work on projects of this kind – and to be aware that in specific situations it may be necessary to seek independent technical and/or legal advice. They must also decide whether or not to include the work in any building consent applications, as not including it will mean no inspection is undertaken, no Code Compliance Certificate is issued and no record of the work is contained on the official property file held at the council.
For more information, visit the Waitakere City Council website www.waitakere.govt.nz, phone the council’s 24-hour call centre on 839 0400 or come into the Waitakere Central civic centre at 6 Henderson Valley Road, Henderson.
Further details are available from the Department of Building and Housing website at www.dbh.govt.nz.