New rules restrict building work
When you build or renovate your home there are a few changes to the Building Act that will make sure the right people are on your job.
The introduction of Restricted Building Work means that work critical to the structure of the building or to its weathertightness, is done by someone who can build it right – a licensed building practitioner.
Restricted Building Work makes sure that you know who is accountable for each part of the work and that it is built right.
The important things for you to know when you are building or renovating your house are:
Use a design licensed building practitioner to draw the plans for your building
Use licensed building practitioners to build your home
All licensed building practitioners doing Restricted Building Work on your home have to give you a memorandum when their part of the work is done. It documents what they did.
A licensed building practitioner is a tradesperson you can trust to know how to build it right and has been assessed as being competent to do the type of building they hold a licence for.
Licensed building practitioners have to show certain skills, give proof of practical experience and comply with the building code to get their licence.
They also have to gain enough maintenance points every two years to keep it. There are a number of licences that can be held by a tradesperson. These each specialise in an area of the building process. These licences are: Design Carpentry Foundation Roofing Brick and Block laying External Plastering Registered architects and chartered professional engineers are automatically treated as design licensed building practitioners and you can employ them to do any Restricted Building Work design.
Registered plumbers and gasfitters are automatically treated as licensed building practitioners in the roofing, external plastering, and brick and blocklaying licensing classes. All can only carry out work that they are competent to do.
There are a lot of different ways that you might go about organising the building or renovating of your home.
You might build through a contracting company who will hire the right licensed building practitioners for you or you might hire a builder who holds a carpenter licensed building practitioner licence.
They may then hire other licensed building practitioners to do work such as roofing and plumbing. Other options are hiring each type of tradesperson directly or asking your designer to project manage the work for you.
It is important that the Restricted Building Work on your home is done by someone who is licensed to do that type of Restricted Building Work. For example if it is Restricted Building Work to the roof, then the tradesperson has to be licensed in roofing.
Registered architects and chartered professional engineers are automatically treated as design licensed building practitioners.
Registered plumbers and registered gasfitters are automatically treated as licensed building practitioners in the roofing, external plastering, and bricklaying and blocklaying classes. This is in recognition they carry out this type of work in the ordinary course of their business and they must only carry out work that falls within their own competence levels.
Owner-builders are able to carry out Restricted Building Work on their own home. You are an owner-builder if you:
Live in or are going to live in the home (includes a bach or holiday home).
Carry out the Restricted Building Work to your own home yourself, or with the help of your unpaid friends and family members, and
Have not, under the Owner-builder Exemption, carried out Restricted Building Work to any other home within the previous three years.
Most DIY work is usually minor repair, maintenance or alteration work and doesn’t fall within the category of Restricted Building Work. For this work nothing has changed and home owners can continue to do this work as they always have.
Restricted Building Work is work that requires a building consent and relates to the primary structure of your home or affects its weathertightness. Building work that is in the Restricted Building Work category must only be done by or under the supervision of licensed building practitioners, unless you are using the owner-builder exemption.
If you are a suitably skilled ownerbuilder and meet the criteria above, you can carry out this work but if you have any doubts you are recommended to hire licensed building practitioners to do this critical building work.
An owner-builder is responsible for ensuring that Restricted Building Work carried out under the owner-builder exemption complies with the building consent and the relevant plans and specifications.
As the owner-builder family members and friends can help you with the Restricted Building Work to your home as long as you are not paying them to help you.
Future buyers will have access to information that shows the building work was carried out by the owner rather than a licensed building practitioner.
Before you can use the owner-builder exemption you need to complete a statutory declaration showing that you meet the owner-builder criteria.
The statutory declaration form has to be witnessed and signed by a Justice of the Peace or someone else authorised by law do so. This form needs to be given to your local council with your application for a building consent, or before the Restricted Building Work on your home starts.
It is an offence under the Crimes Act 1961 to give false information in a statutory declaration and it is also an offence under the Building Act 2004 to give false information.
Visit builditright.govt.nz or contact your local council for more information on the owner-builder exemption.
Restricted Building Work is work which is critical to the integrity of a building. It makes sure the building is structurally sound and weathertight, that’s why it can only be done or supervised by tradespeople who are licensed building practitioners.