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Recent Building Code Changes

Contributor: Mike Williams

Date: 12 July 2011

The government has recently made changes to Schedule 1 of the Building Act in an attempt to reduce the compliance costs in the Building industry. Schedule 1 provides information about building work that does not require a building consent under the Building Act 2004 (the Building Act).

All building work, regardless of whether a building consent is required, must comply with the New Zealand Building Code. Often this will require the engagement of a skilled building practitioner to undertake either the design or the building work.
Work exempt under Schedule 1 is generally building work that will not significantly affect public safety, or the structural integrity or fire safety components of the building. The below is a simplified list of some of the building work not requiring a Building Consent. For a more detailed list, or for further advice, please contact your friendly Aireys team. The full list can be viewed on the Department of Building and Housing website.
 
  • Lawful repairs and maintenance using comparable materials, or replacement with a comparable components
  • Minor works associated with plumbing, drainlaying and gassfitting as long as it is undertaken by a registered plumber, gasfitter, or drainlayer.
  • the alteration to an entrance or an internal doorway of a dwelling to improve access for persons with disabilities,
  • The internal alterations of some non-residential buildings as long as the alterations do not reduce the buildings structural or fire safety compliance.
  • The replacement of linings and finishes of internal walls, ceilings or floors of a dwelling (residential house).
  • The construction or alteration of any retaining wall that retains not more than 1.5 metres depth of ground that does not support any surcharge or any load additional to the load of that ground.
  • The construction of decks, balconies, platforms and bridges, and similar structures where it is not possible to fall more than 1.5 metres.
  • Buildings that would not normally pose a risk to people, or that are used only by people engaged in the construction or maintenance of another consented building (eg, construction site offices,  garden sheds, cabins or sleep-outs)
  • The alteration, removal or construction of certain internal walls that do not adversely affect Structural stability (both vertical and horizontal loadings) or the Means of escape from fire.
  • The installation, replacement or removal of any number of windows (including a skylight) or an external doorway as long as the building work does not reduce compliance with the provisions of the Building Code that relate to structural stability.
  • The construction, installation, replacement, or alteration of playground equipment, designed by a chartered professional engineer.
Whilst the above are works able to be undertaken without the need to obtain a Building Consent, there are still requirements to undertake the work in accordance with the Building Code, and other legislative requirements. Anyone undertaking such works must familiarise themselves with their obligations under the Building Act, as non-compliance carries stiff penalties.

It is essential that proper advice is sought prior to undertaking any Building work such that compliance with the Building Code and the Building Act is ensured. Trying to fix unauthorised Building work can be extremely costly with costs well in excess of doing it right in the first place.

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