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Building Act Problems: The death of DIY?

Building Act Problems: The death of DIY?

Kiwis have been 'do-it-yourselfers' from the year dot. Since the founding of New Zealand, countless Kiwis have built their own homes, put in new kitchens, added on rooms, built garages, and so on. But on 31 March, the new Building Act comes into force, and will be a huge nail in the coffin of the Kiwi home builder. The regulations will be phased in over four years. The days of building your own home could soon be over.

The part of the Act that bites (sections 84-89) stipulates that all major building must be carried out by a "licensed building practitioner". Restricted work covers anything that requires a building consent, and work on the structure or envelope of a building. At the risk of a $20,000 fine, home handymen will be able to do little more than reline a room, or add a sundeck.

The new Act is a response to the leaky buildings crisis of 2003, which was caused by builders not knowing how to properly install new surface claddings that were coming on the market. The subsequent raft of new regulations will catch everybody in the same net, although there has been no suggestion that home handymen are a problem.

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