Rule changes mean less red tape for some home projects

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If you spotted opportunities to improve your property during lockdown, there’s good news for you. In May, the Government announced new exemptions for building consents will be added to Schedule 1 of the Building Act. This means Council consent will no longer be needed for certain types of building work considered “low risk”. 

What is changing?

There have always been limited exemptions but the list has now been significantly increased.  Exemptions will now include projects such as sleep-outs, sheds, green houses  and carports (under a certain size), outdoor fireplaces and ground-mounted solar panels. For those who live rurally, sheds and hay barns (of a certain design) as well as short-span bridges are now also on the exempt list. Kitchen and bathrooms are not included in the exemptions.

The fact that owners no longer need to go to Council for building consents will be a cost and time saver for both homeowners and Councils.  It is estimated the changes could save building owners up to $18 million a year in consenting costs.

All exempt work will still need to meet the building code and other relevant regulations.  While some work will be able to be done without professional help, other projects will still require the input of a professional such as an engineer.  New guidelines on who can do what will be issued before the new exemptions commence. 

When do the changes come into effect?

The process of changing the Act is underway now and it is hoped the changes will be in effect by the end of August 2020. Remember, it is the building owner’s responsibility to check whether a building consent is required.  If in doubt, seek advice.

Whether you’re upgrading your property, subdividing, buying or selling, our property team is always happy to have a chat.

Our thanks to Vanessa Crosby for writing this article.