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Changes to the Building Act

Changes to the Act 2013

The Building Amendment Act 2013 was passed by Parliament on 27 November 2013. It is the result of a comprehensive review into the Building Act 2004.

This Amendment Act is part of a package of changes which introduce new measures to improve the building and construction sector, ensuring that it delivers good quality, affordable homes and buildings and contributes to a prosperous economy.

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Changes to the Act 2012

The Building Amendment Act 2012 came into force on 13 March 2012. It results from a comprehensive review of the Building Act 2004 carried out in 2009/2010 and is aimed at lifting the overall performance of the building and construction sector.

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Changes to the Act 2010

The Building Amendment Act 2010[External website]. came into force on 7 July 2010. It included some changes to the determinations provisions in the Building Act 2004, such as extending the range of Council decisions which can be the subject of a determination. It also contained a small number of technical adjustments to other sections of the Building Act 2004."

Initial changes - from 30 November 2004

The Department of Building and Housing was established

The Department of Building and Housing was established on 1 November 2004, when the name of the Ministry of Housing was changed to the Department of Building and Housing. The Department took over the Ministry of Housing’s responsibilities on that date.

The Department became responsible for the Building Act 2004 on 30 November 2004, when the first parts of the Act came into force. The Chief Executive of the Department became responsible for appointing an Advisory Panel for building issues, monitoring building consent authorities, and making determinations.

The Building Industry Authority (BIA) was dissolved

The Authority was an (up to) eight-member entity that managed New Zealand’s building legislation under the 1991 Building Act. The Authority was supported in its work by a team of technical and professional staff.

BIA staff transferred to the Department of Building and Housing, along with the building policy team from the Ministry of Economic Development.

The Chief Executive of the Department of Building and Housing dealt with the resolution of any outstanding issues (such as determinations not completed by the Authority under transitional provisions included in the Building Act 2004.)

Housing-related policy advice and some administrative functions, performed by other government departments, were gradually transferred to the Department of Building and Housing

  • 1 December 2004 - Retirement villages (Ministry of Social Development)
  • 1 February 2005 - Housing standards work (Housing New Zealand Corporation)
  • 1 July 2005 - Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (Department of Internal Affairs)

Mandatory warranties to protect consumers took effect

Consumer protection measures in the Act set out certain warranties that are implied in all building contracts for household units, whether specified in the contract or not. These include the expectation that the work will be done competently using suitable materials, completed within a reasonable time, and that the household unit will be suitable for occupation.

Restrictions to the sale of household units by property developers took effect

The Building Act 2004 introduces important consumer protection measures covering the sale of household units by residential property developers, including spec builders.

It is now an offence for a residential property developer to complete the sale, or allow a purchaser to take possession, of a household unit before a code compliance certificate (CCC) has been issued. Effectively, this makes it the developer’s responsibility to fix any faults before sale. This offence does not apply to contracts for sale and purchase entered into before 30 November 2004.

It is possible for purchasers to agree to contract out of this requirement, but only by using a prescribed form. The form makes clear to the purchaser what having no CCC may mean for them, for example, that finance and insurance may be affected.

Offence provisions came into force

Powers to impose a range of fines for offences also came into effect on 30 November 2004. These allow for using infringement notices for minor offences. The maximum fine for the most serious offence is $200,000. Infringement offences are set by regulations.

Territorial authorities became obliged to adopt a policy on dangerous, earthquake-prone and insanitary buildings before 31 May 2006