Updated guidance for exempt building work

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Did you know some plumbing and drainlaying work must be carried out by an “authorised person”, such as a registered certifying plumber or drainlayer, before it can be considered exempt building work?

Or that if you are removing a building element such as a chimney, roof or cladding from a building three storeys or less, then there is a new exemption which may mean you do not require a building consent.

These changes, were made when Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 (the Act) was amended in November 2013.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment published new guidance in March this year, to help keep tradespeople up to date with the changes to Schedule 1.
The guidance concentrates on the 43 exemptions of Schedule 1. It is full of practical examples, with photos, providing information on each of the Schedule 1 exemptions. It clarifies the type of work that is exempt and who can carry out this work.

It’s important that builders are aware of building work that is exempt from a building consent as clients will often rely on them to advise what types of work do not need a building consent.
It is an offence to carry out building work that is not exempt without a building consent, and can incur a fine up to $200,000 and a further fine of up to $10,000 per day if work continues.

Councils continue to have discretionary powers to grant exemptions for any proposed building work under exemption 2. However, they must be satisfied that the completed work is likely to comply with the Building Code, or there is minimal risk of it endangering people or property.
If tradespeople want any work to be considered under this exemption, it is important to start discussions early with the local council.

What’s new? 
A new section, relating to Schedule 1, has been added to the Act, while Schedule 1 itself has been amended to make the exemptions easier to use.
Section 42A of the Act, is a new section which imposes some general conditions and limits on Schedule 1 exemptions and clarifies: 
• what type of building work is exempt from requiring a building consent,
• who can carry it out, and 
• what other conditions apply.

Schedule 1 
The scope of building work covered by Schedule 1 does not vary much from the previous version, which was introduced in December 2010. However, it has a new numbering system and has been divided into three parts depending on who can carry out the work:
• Part 1: Exempted building work lists work that anyone can carry out. It includes exemption 2, formerly Schedule 1(k), which gives territorial and regional authorities the discretion to exempt any building work from requiring a building consent.
• Part 2: Sanitary plumbing and drainlaying carried out by a person authorised under the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006.
• Part 3: Building work for which design is carried out or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer.

Read the guidance 

To find out more read the Guidance Building work that does not require a building consent – Building Act 2004 document at www.dbh.govt.nz/bc-no-consent.

Other changes to the Act 
Once the building regulations are amended, builders will need to provide clients with information about their credentials and enter into written contracts for work over a specified amount.
These changes will make it easier for builders and home owners to understand their rights and responsibilities. For a summary of the changes go to www.dbh.govt.nz/bcupdate-149.
Remember, all building work must comply with the Building Code, regardless of whether or not it needs a building consent.

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