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New Building Act comes into force

Comment from the Chief Executive

31 March 2005: A range of enhanced consumer protection measures come into effect on 31 March for those who build, renovate or maintain buildings.

The changes are part of a package introduced through the Building Act 2004, which replaces the 1991 Act.

Changes that come into effect include:

  • A requirement to include more detail in building consent applications to confirm the Building Code compliance of the proposed building.
  • Councils now have 20 working days to process consents, which reflect the additional detail now required.
  • Changes to the rules around the issue of code compliance certificates (the final sign-off that confirms a project has been completed in accordance with the Building Code). Under the new legislation a CCC will only be issued if the building has been built is the same one that was proposed when the building consent was issued or amended.

The changes were designed to ensure buildings are built right first time.

Houses and other buildings play a significant role in people's lives. At its heart the Act is about ensuring New Zealanders are adequately protected, when they undertake building work and when they use finished buildings.

The new procedures introduced mean more scrutiny into the building consent and inspection process, ensuring buildings are fully compliant with the Building Code.

Though the Act is now in force, some measures in it, such as the introduction of a licensing system for building practitioners and the rollout of the new Building Code, will occur over the next three to four years.

Measures such as these are about ensuring that people with the necessary skills are employed in the building industry.

The Hunn report found the reasons behind leaky buildings were complex and involved a systemic failure of the building control system.

The new Act seeks to address that by increasing the likelihood of quality decision-making at every step of the process.

The following update was published on 31 March:

Building Controls Update 10: Building Act 2004 now in force

Katrina Bach