Digest No. 1827
The aim of the Bill is to change or clarify
building consent and inspection requirements;
building design and construction requirements;
the licensed building practitioners regime;
the law relating to DIY projects;
the permitted use of building without a code compliance certificate for building work commenced between 1992 and 2005;
the building warrant of fitness regime.
The Bill also makes a number of other minor and technical amendments
Consent completion certificate
The Bill repeals the definition of “code compliance certificate”. That term is replaced throughout the Act by the term “consent completion certificate” under Section 95 of the Act (Part 1, Clause 6; part 1, Clause 32, amending Section 95 of the Act).
The Bill sets out the responsibilities of owners (such as obtaining any necessary building consent), owner-builders (ensuring that restricted building work carried out under the builder-owner exemption (see below) complies with the building consent), designers (ensuring that plans and specifications comply with building code), builders (ensuring buildings comply with the consent and with plans and specifications) and building consent authorities (checking that plans and specifications comply with the building code and that building work has been carried out in accordance therewith).
However the Bill also provides that the new sections concerned:
“are not a definitive and inclusive statement of the parties but are an outline only”;
“are for guidance only, and in the event of any conflict between any of those sections and any other provision of this [Bill], the latter prevails”;
“do not reflect the responsibilities of the parties under any other law or enactment” (Part 1, Clause 10, inserting New Sections 14A-14F).
Building consent provisions reorganised
The Bill reorganises the provisions relating to building consents. Four types of consents are replacing the existing single type. The four types are:
A standard building consent;
A low-risk building consent;
A simple residential building consent; and
A commercial consent (Part 1 Clause 15, substituting New Sections 41-52Y; Schedule to the Bill (setting out detailed provisions relating to each type of consent).
Low-risk building work, simple building work and restricted building work
The Bill extends the requirement that a licensed building practitioner must carry out restricted building work (existing Section 84) to the categories of low-risk and simple residential building work. The same offence provisions relating to carrying out or supervising restricted building work (existing Section 85) and engaging a person who is not a licensed building practitioner to carry out or supervise restricted building work (existing Section 86) are made to apply (Part 1, Clause 18 (New Sections 84-84G); Clause 19, substituting Section 85; Clause 20, amending Section 86).
The Bill provides for restricted building work to be carried out in certain circumstances by owner-builders “themselves, or with the assistance of their unpaid friends and family members”.
Section 7 of the Act defines “restricted building work” as (in general):
building work that is critical to the integrity of a building, for example, its envelope and structure and
of a kind declared by the Governor-General by Order in Council to be building work that must be carried out or supervised by a licensed building practitioner who is licensed to carry out or supervise that work (the Order in Council may relate to certain types or categories of buildings, or parts of buildings specified in the Order in Council); and
includes design work (relating to building work) that is design work of a kind declared by Order in Council to be restricted building work for the purposes of the Act (Part 1, Clause 25, inserting New Part 4A into the Act, New Sections 90A-90D (New Section 90B, read with new section 90C, defines who is an owner-builder for the purposes of the exemption. The exemption provision is contained in New Section 90D).
Licensed Building practitioners
The Bill licensed provides for the prescription of a code of conduct for licensed building practitioners and also introduces the requirements that a licensed building practitioner must not misrepresent his or her competence and must undertake building work only within his or her competence. A breach of these new provisions constitutes a ground for disciplining a licensed building practitioner (Part 1, Clause 57, New Section 314B; Clause 58, amending Section 317 of the Act).
Because the Bill provides for four categories of building consent to replace a single category, and because the consent completion certificate is replacing the code compliance certificate, a building consent pre-commencement becomes a standard building consent under the new stepped-consenting regime, and existing applications are treated similarly. The pre-commencement code compliance certificate becomes a consent completion certificate, and existing applications are treated similarly (Part 2, Clause 79).
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