Exempt Building Work

Exempt Building Work

Before you start a building project, contact your local Building Consent Authority (Council) to see if a building consent is required. Most projects do require a building consent but if the building work is exempt, you will save time and money. Of course, if it is exempt but you do want a building consent, this is your choice. Council inspections can provide certainty that the job has been done correctly and is compliant.

MBIEs Building Consent Exemption Tool

This online tool allows homeowners to answer a few questions about an upcoming project to see if it needs a building consent, or if it could qualify as exempt building work.

Building Consent Exemption Tool

Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 lists the building projects that are exempt. Exempted work is generally work that will not impact on the structural integrity or safety components of the building. Refer to MBIE guidance for detailed examples of various projects. If unsure, contact your local Council for advice.

Even though no building consent is needed for these projects, their construction must comply with the Building Code to ensure they are safe for people to use. Requirements of the Building Code can be found on MBIE’s website building code compliance documents.

Please be aware there may be other laws you need to comply with as well. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The Resource Management Act 1991
  • The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 1976
  • The Electricity Act 1992
  • The Health Act 1956
  • Local Government bylaws

To read these documents go to

NOTE: It doesn’t matter how minor the project is, all building work, including exempt work, must be carried out in accordance with the Building Act, the Building Code, and the District Plan. Any exempt building work not completed in accordance with the New Zealand Building Code or the Resource Management Act may be subject to the enforcement provisions of either Act.

If NON-EXEMPT building work has been done without a Building Consent, you may:

  • receive an Infringement Notice and a fine may be issued; or
  • a Notice to Fix to make the work compliant with the Building Code or to remove the illegal work may be issued; or
  • the builder may face disciplinary actions from their LBP board; or
  • you may have trouble selling the property; or
  • insurance payouts may be a problem.