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Changes to the 

Building Act

Changes to the Building Act will mean building consents aren’t needed for some new or expanded types of low-risk building work, like sleepouts, sheds, carports, outdoor fireplaces and ground-mounted solar panels.

New building consent exemptions have been added to the Building Act. These exemptions will save building owners time and money, as they will not have to go to their local council for consent for common low-risk building work. This reduction in building consents will also allow councils to focus on building work that is higher risk, helping to boost productivity.

From August 31st, 2020 
This package of new exemptions adds to the work that can already be done without a building consent, outlined in Schedule 1 of the Building Act.

Some types of new exempt building work can be done without the help of a professional, while others require the involvement of a Chartered Professional Engineer or Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP). This is a big win for LBPs, as it will raise their profile and encourage home and building owners to use them.

The new exemptions started on August 31st, 2020.

Larger single-storey detached buildings
Additional exemptions will increase the size of current exemptions for single-storey detached buildings. Kitchen and bathroom facilities are not included in this exemption.

New exemptions include:

  • Kitset or prefab buildings with a maximum floor area of 30m², where a manufacturer or supplier has had the design carried out or reviewed by a Chartered Professional Engineer

  • Buildings with a maximum floor area of 30m², where an LBP is to carry out or supervise design and construction

  • Buildings with a maximum floor area of 30m², where only lightweight materials with structural components built in accordance with Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 are used – this work may be done without the help of a professional.


Some exemptions require an LBP

There are some other building consent exemptions that must be carried out by a professional. These exemptions will apply if:

  • The design has been carried out or reviewed by a Chartered Professional Engineer

  • An LBP has carried out or supervised design and construction.

  • The change to the exemption often applies to the size of the works. Using an LBP will allow homeowners to build larger projects than they could under current exemptions without an LBP.


Some examples of exemptions that can be carried out with an LBP include:

  • Carports up to 40m² – up from 20m²

  • Ground floor awnings up to 30m² – up from 20m²

  • Ground floor verandas and porches up to 30m² – up from 20m²

  • Single-storey pole sheds and hay barns in rural zones with a maximum floor area of 110m².

Others don’t require an LBP

Other new building consent exemptions that do not require an LBP include:

  • Outdoor fireplaces or ovens

  • Flexible water storage bladders

  • Small pipe supporting structures.

More information about the new exemptions, including technical requirements, is now on the website.

Article by Juliet Clendon. Senior Technical Advisor, Occupational Licensing MBIE
Published in Building Business magazine, October 2020 Edition


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