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16 June 2020

Exemptions to the Building Act: what you need to know!

Do you like to “DIY” (do-it-yourself) your build projects, but have always felt restrained by consents? Well, we have good news! In August 2020, the Government will be scrapping their requirements for low risk building consents to reduce the regulatory oversight on your backyard projects. Yes, this means you’ll be able to build and renovate your property, but don’t get too carried away, it does come with some restrictions.

Exemptions to save you time and money

Building consent exemptions are not new to the Building Act 2004. However, the new exemption package, which provides six new exemptions and expands four existing exemptions, are more noteworthy; they remove the limitations on an array of common home improvements, alongside their costly consent fees.

Part of the broader building system reform programme, the aim is to help everyday Kiwi DIY enthusiasts to move forward with their home improvements and renovation work while freeing up the consent process to focus on higher-risk building projects.

Basic home improvements to become more accessible

Easily the biggest winners from the new exemptions, homeowners can rejoice and begin to plan those basic home improvements. They can now feel safe in the knowledge that they are saving time and money with the removal of building consent costs usually paid to the council.     

The move will mean anyone can build a sleep-out, carport, or shed without needing prior council permission. Yes, they must still meet the current building code, but this will remove a lot of the associated red tape while adding value to the property.

What’s considered low risk

While low risk, by definition, means a project is unlikely to fail, residential property owners will now have increased possibilities on what they can build. These include:

  • Larger single-storey detached buildings up to 30 square metres
  • Carports with a maximum floor area of 40 square metres
  • Awnings
  • Verandas and porches
  • Outdoor fireplaces or ovens
  • Flexible water storage bladders for irrigation and firefighting only, up 200,000 litres in storage capacity
  • Short-span bridges on private land without public access
  • Detached single-storey pole sheds and hay barns

It is important to be vigilant in your approach to any potential changes to your property. If in doubt, use the services of trained, Licensed Building Practitioners to ensure alterations and additions to your property comply with the current standards. At the very least you need to be familiar with the relevant changes and legislation before planning your building work.

Contact the team at Lugtons

Whether you’re owner-occupiers, investors or potential sellers, the latest reforms to the Building Act are likely great news. If you’re looking to buy, sell or invest in a property, our team of qualified real estate salespeople are here to help you find the perfect project.

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