Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents

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Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa

Home owners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports — allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker on larger projects to provide jobs and assist the country’s recovery from Covid-19.

The Government is introducing new exemptions to the Building Act in a move to save home owners $18 million in consenting costs each year, though building work must still meet the Building Code, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa announced recently.

“These changes will save New Zealanders time and money, and mean councils can focus on higher-risk building work, boosting the building and construction sector in the Covid-19 recovery,” Salesa says.

“Single-storey detached buildings up to 30 square metres — such as sleep-outs, sheds and greenhouses; carports; awnings; water storage bladders and others will now not require a council-approved building consent, which will result in 9000 fewer consents to process a year.

“Some of the new exemptions will use the Licensed Builder Practitioners scheme, which recognises the competence of these building practitioners, and allows them to join chartered professional engineers and certifying plumbers in having their own suite of exemptions.

“Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home, and this Government is finding ways to help build more houses by unclogging the building consent process, making it quicker and more affordable,” Salesa says.

The exemptions are just one part of a broader building system reform programme, which includes the Construction Sector Accord Transformation Plan, the Construction Skills Action Plan, and Building Law reforms.

Most of the new exemptions are expected to commence at the end of August, after the necessary changes to the Building Act have been made.