Owner & Industry Responsibilities

Consumer protection

This refers to implementation of Building Amendment Act 2013 on 1 January 2015 in regard to mandatory disclosure and contracts for residential buildings. Check out the following:

MBIE has also brought out a new brochure on building and renovating it covers residential building work only. If you're considering residential building work, from the 1 January 2015 you'll be better protected. That's when the new consumers protection measures take effect. These changes encourage a professional, no-surprises relationship between you and your contractor. They should also enable you to make informed decisions about building work. 

For the latest updates on the new consumer protection measures go to DO YOUR HOME WORK website. This Brochure has been written by MBIE as a quick guide to explain the changes and remind you of other important steps in the building process.

The following topics are covered in MBIE's brochure:

  • New protection for homeowners
  • Before building work starts
  • Once building work finishes
  • What if things go wrong?
  • And finally an overview of the building process set out in a diagram.

The key changes that MBIE has made are:

  • You must have a written contract for residential building work costing $30,000 or more (including GST).
  • If this is the case or if you have ask for it, your contractor must give you information about
    • his or her skills,
    • qualifications,
    • licensing status, and
    • the insurance or guarantees they provide in a disclosure statement.
  • Your contractor must also give you information about
    • any on-going maintenance requirements,
    • insurance policies and
    • guarantees and warrantees once the building work has been completed.
  • There's an automatic 12-month defect repair period when contractors have to fix any defects you've told them about.
  • There are new ways to take action when warranties in the Building Act have not been met.
  • Contractors can be fined if they don't comply with the law. 
                                                                                           (SOURCE: MBIE brochure - see do your homework)

Low Risk Work

To identify low risk residential work that does not require a building consent, see:

Responsibilities for work requiring a building consent

Get a building consent

  • Employ a competent designer to create the design documentation (Plans and Specifications) that complies with the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code. If the proposed work involves restricted building work then the designer must be a registered architect, chartered professional engineer or hold a Licensed Building Practitioners design license for the class of work proposed.
  • If required, obtain a Resource Consent from your local Council planning unit.
  • Apply for a Building Consent (BC) from your local Council Consent Authority (BCA). Ensure that you provide all the required documentation.
  • If the work involves restricted building work, provide the designer Certificate of Design Work (COW).
  • Once issued, make sure you read the BC to understand what the conditions are (if any) and what inspections are required. (see Building Consents conditions on MBIE website and Building Consents - What you need to know).

During construction

  • If any changes to the plans are required after the building consent has been issued, get approval for amending plans.
  • For Restricted Building Work: If any of the LBPs cease to work on the project or join the project during construction, notifying the Council of the names and details of these LBPs. See LBP Notification form.
  • Ensure inspections are booked at the appropriate stages of a building project with the Council. Remember to call for an inspection with at least 24 hours notice but if there are no available inspection appointment times left, the inspection will have to be booked for the next available time which could be 2-3 days later.
  • Collect any ROW for restricted building work. It is best to collect these from the LBPs during the build (where possible) rather than at the end. Check that all aspects of restricted building work have been recorded in the ROWs.

At the end of the project

  • When the job appears to be finished, call for the Final Inspection with your local Council.
  • Once the final inspection has been passed the owner/ agent applies for the CCC.
  • For Restricted Building Work: Provide Records of Work with the application for Code Compliance Certificate (CCC).
  • Application for a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) should be made within 2 years of the building consent being granted. (For further information see Building Consents). It is important to obtain a CCC as this document is often the deciding factor in the sale and purchase of a property. Once the final Inspection has been past apply for CCC with your local Council.
  • Apply for any extension of time before the cut off date. (For more information see Extension of time)

Restricted building work

Restricted Building Work is residential work which is critical to the structural integrity and weather tightness of a building. It can only be carried out or supervised by trades people who are Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs). 

  • Building Act 2004, Section 45 (2)(3)(4)(b) - A Certificate of Design Work (COW) must be supplied with building consent application. This certificate is supplied by the designer. You can use either the prescribed form, or the MBIE form. NO other forms will be accepted.
  • Building Act 2004, Section 87 - The Owner must notify the names of licensed building practitioners (LBPs) engaged in restricted building work with the building consent application.
  • Building Act 2004, Section 88 - Each LBP who carries out or supervises restricted building work under a building consent must, on completion of the restricted building work -

(a) provide the owner and the Council with a Record of Work (ROW), in the prescribed form, stating what restricted building work the LBP carried out or supervised; and

(b) if applicable, give the owner and the Council a certificate, in the prescribed form, stating that any specified systems in the building to which the restricted building work relates are capable of performing to the performance standards set out in the building consent.

The MBIE website outlines the process for a ROW for carpenters.

Legislated Responsibilities for Individuals

Owner responsibilities

Building Act 2004 Section 14B: An owner is responsible for-

  • obtaining any necessary consents, approvals, and certificates
  • ensuring that building work carried out by the owner complies with the building consent or, if there is no building consent, with the building code
  • ensuring compliance with any notices to fix.

Owner builder responsibilities

Building Act 2004 Section 14C: An owner-builder is responsible for ensuring that restricted building work carried out under the owner-builder exemption complies with the building consent and the plans and specifications to which the building consent relates.
(For more information see Owner-Builder Exemptions.)

Designer responsibilities

Responsibilities of all designers are defined by the Building Act 2004 Section 14D:

  • In subsection (2), designer means a person who prepares plans and specifications for building work or who gives advice on the compliance of building work with the building code.
  • A designer is responsible for ensuring that the plans and specifications or the advice in question are sufficient to result in the building work complying with the building code, if the building work were properly completed in accordance with those plans and specifications or that advice.

Registered Architects

  • Building Act 2004 Section 14D (as above).
  • Registered Architects must comply with the Registered Architect Rules 2006.
    • Section 7 (2)(p) and section 21(a) RE: Minimum standards: must understand and comply with statutory and regulatory requirements
    • Section 47 : uphold the law
    • Section 49: show care and due diligence

Chartered Professional Engineers

Builder responsibilities

Building Act 2004 Section 14E:

  • In subsection (2), builder means any person who carries out building work, whether in trade or not.
  • A builder is responsible for-
    • ensuring that the building work complies with the building consent and the plans and specifications to which the building consent relates
    • ensuring that building work not covered by a building consent complies with the building code.
  • A licensed building practitioner who carries out or supervises restricted building work is responsible for-
    • ensuring that the restricted building work is carried out or supervised in accordance with the requirements of this Act; and
    • ensuring that he or she is licensed in a class for carrying out or supervising that restricted building work.

Consumer Guarantees Act 1993

The creation of building plans and specifications can be seen as a service or product as can the construction carried out against these plans. Therefore the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 applies. Any business that is serious about its brand should be familiar with this Act:

Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 Section 1A Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to contribute to a trading environment in which-

  • the interests of consumers are protected; and
  • businesses compete effectively; and
  • consumers and businesses participate confidently.

To this end, the Act provides that consumers have-

  • certain guarantees when acquiring goods or services from a supplier, including-
    • that the goods are reasonably safe and fit for purpose and are otherwise of an acceptable quality; and
    • that the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and
    • certain rights of redress against suppliers and manufacturers if goods or services fail to comply with a guarantee

Get it right the first time!

See details on Better Building Practices to increase productivity of a project


Page last updated: 2016-05-16

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