Strict regulations for building work
Building work in New Zealand is controlled by the Building Act 2004 and the various building regulations which include the building code. The legislation is administered nationally by the Department of Building and Housing 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.
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: Durability. Fire safety. Sanitation (services and facilities). Moisture control. Energy efficiency. Access. 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 start. 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.
A building is any temporary or permanent, movable or immovable structure and its service connections. It includes temporary structures such as marquees. Note this list is not exhaustive and people should check with their building consent authority before starting work.
The council is both a building consent authority and a territorial authority 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. Issue Code Compliance Certificates. Receive and consider applications for Certificates of Acceptance.
Receive and consider applications for Certificates for Public Use. 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
A review is also under way of the Building Act, with the aim of cutting red tape in the building consent process.