Change to Building Consent

1 June 2020

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Changes to the Building Act coming into force shortly will make it easier and cheaper for owners to renovate or expand their home. From August this year, a building consent will no longer be required for some low risk building work. This will include carports, sheds, outdoor fireplaces and installing ground-mounted solar panels. Sleep-outs or studios will also be exempt, as long as the building is single-story and smaller than 30 square metres.

These changes are expected to reduce the number of consents required by 9,000 a year and save homeowners $18 million annually.

Perhaps more importantly, it will also reduce the time and the hassle of dealing with tedious Council paperwork! Hopefully, this will also free up Council staff to deal with the higher risk building work, speeding up the process for those who will still need a consent.

If you plan on carrying out building work, it will still be very important to clarify if you need a consent. Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 outlines the work that does not require building consent, but a Licenced Building Practitioner or Council staff will also be able to advise you. This is important for a number of reasons:

  • Firstly of course, for the safety of your family or tenants.
  • Carrying out work without consent or that is not up to building code can void your insurance policy.
  • The fine print of your mortgage will require that all building work meets the building code.
  • Renting out a house that has unconsented work can open you up to claims from tenants in the Tenancy Tribunal.
  • When you go to sell a property, purchasers will want to know that all work was done legally.

Some work, while not requiring consent, will still require a Chartered Professional Engineer to sign-off the design or a Licenced Building Practitioner to complete or supervise some of the work. You should not make any extensions to cross-lease or unit title properties without receiving some legal advice as you can make your title defective if you don’t update the flats plan (a separate process to the building consent one and involves lawyers and surveyors).

In the rest of this newsletter we're covering:

  • Homebuyer's Roadmap and Checklist
  • Relationship Property Agreements
  • Don’t sell too soon – what to do before you list your property
  • Big changes in the ADLS/REINZ Agreement

As always, if you have any question please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.  

Katherine, Sam, Maria, Jordan and Madi
— Convex Legal Ltd


for more help feel free to reach out. Get in touch with Katherine Mexted