Click on the headings (below) to access these common topics more quickly
This section provides external links where you can view copies of relevant New Zealand legislation and information on Acceptable Solutions & Standards. We recommend that you use the NZ legislation website in order to be sure that you are using the latest version of any legislation, especially the Building Act and any Building Regulations.
Changes in Legislation
MBIE launched a new building system search engine, Building CodeHub, which helps people locate the latest building rules and guidance information for designing and constructing buildings. In addition, five commonly used building-related Standards and a handbook are now free to download from the Standards New Zealand website.
By making it easier for people to access building-related documents, MBIE hopes to see improved compliance with the Building Code, and more importantly, safer homes and buildings.
The five Standards and handbook are:
- Design for access and mobility: Buildings and associated facilities (NZS 4121:2001) – provides solutions for making buildings and facilities accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
- Housing, alterations and small buildings contract (NZS 3902:2004) – a plain English standard building contract.
- Thermal insulation – housing and small buildings (NZS 4218:2009) – helps establish the levels of thermal insulation for houses and small buildings.
- Interconnected smoke alarms for houses (NZS 4514:2009) – provides information about the placement and audibility of smoke alarms.
- Safety barriers and fences around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs (NZS 8500:2006) – describes barriers for residential pools including ways to assess their strength.
- Handbook on Timber-framed buildings (selected extracts from NZS 3604:2011) – figures and tables to help design and construct timber-framed buildings up to three storeys high.
Legislative Reviews and Bills
The process involved
Anyone can make a submission to present their opinion about proposed law change:
- Have Your Say: Tell select committees and Parliament what you think [PDF, 103kb] [New Zealand Parliament website]
- How laws are made
- How to make a submission
Before becoming an Act of Parliament, bills have to pass through the following stages:
Committee of the whole House
The chance to debate a Bill in the House of Representatives.
An invitation for public submissions, and possible amendments to the Bill.
Occurs after the Select Committee reports to the House.
Further debate on the proposed Bill, and a chance to examine the Bill in detail and make additional changes. Once the final form of a Bill is agreed, it is reprinted.
A summing-up debate of the Bill in its final form. The Bill is either passed or rejected.
The final step before it becomes law, where it is signed by the Governor-General.
Amusement Devices Regulations 1978 (SR 1978/294) (18 December 2013)
Building Act 2004 (SR 2004/72) (Reprint – 1 September 2017)
- Schedule 1 exempts building work i.e. work that does not require a Building Consent. (Version 1 January 2017)
- A Summary of the Changes to the Building Act since 2004 due to Building Amendment Act 2012 (Amendments to principal Act) (SR 2012/23) (Reprint – 1 July 2017).
Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2006 (SR 2006/399) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Amendment Regulations 2013 (SR 2013/456) (18 November 2013)
Building (Accreditation of Building Consent Authorities) Amendment Regulation 2017 (SR 2017/14) (13 February 2017)
Building Amendment Act 2013 (SR 2013/100) – passed 27 November 2013 (Reprint – 1 January 2015). For more information refer to
Building Amendment Act 2012 (SR 2012/23) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Building (Consent Authority Accreditation Fees) Regulations 2007 (SR 2007/102) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Building (Definition of Restricted Building Work) Order 2011 (SR 2011/317) (Reprint – 4 December 2014)
Building (Design Work Declared to be Building Work) Order 2007 (SR 2007/125) (Reprint – 24 May 2007)
Building (Designation of Building Work Licensing Classes) Order 2010 (SR 2010/43) (1 March 2010)
Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 (SR 2016/22) (1 July 2017)
Building (Fee for Determinations) Regulations 2005 (SR 2005/55) (Reprint – 11 March 2005)
Building (Forms) Regulations 2004 (SR 2004/385) (Reprint – 30 March 2012)
Building (Forms) Amendment Regulations 2011 (SR 2011/418) (14 November 2011)
Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2007 (SR 2007/403) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Amendment Regulations 2014 (2014/362) (1 December 2014)
Building Levy Order 2005 (SR 2005/33) (Reprint – 25 February 2005)
Building (Minor Variations) Regulations 2009 (SR 2009/408) (14 December 2009)
Building (National Multiple-use Approval) Regulations 2011 (SR 2011/139) (16 May 2011)
Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 (SR 2016/71) (28 October 2016)
Building (Pools) Regulations 2016 (SR 2016/304) (12 December 2016)
Building (Pool Manufacturers and Retailers) Notice 2017 (Commencement – 1 September 2017)
Building Practitioners (Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures) Regulations 2008 (SR 2008/304) (Reprint – 3 July 2014)
Building Practitioners (Licensing Fees and Levy) Regulations 2010 (SR 2010/44) (1 March 2010)
Building Practitioners (Register of Licensed Building Practitioners) Regulations 2010 (SR 2010/45) (1 March 2010)
Building (Product Certification) Regulations 2008 (SR 2008/360) (Reprint – 28 November 2013)
Building (Registration of Building Consent Authorities) Regulations 2007 (SR 2007/300) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Building Regulations 1992 (SR 1992/150) (Reprint – 1 January 2017)
- The Building Code – Schedule 1
- Building CodeHub – This search engine makes it quick and easy to find and access resources you need to design buildings that comply with the current New Zealand Building Code.
Building (Residential Consumer Rights and Remedies) Regulations 2014 (SR 2014/361) (1 December 2014). MANDATORY CONTRACTS. Associated with this is the following legislation:
- Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Amendment Regulations 2014 (SR 2014/362) (1 December 2014). Refer to Schedule 1 which describes actions that are infringement offenses and the corresponding infringement fees.
- Building Amendment Act 2013 Commencement Order 2014 (SR 2014/360) (1 December 2014). (Note: Sections 4(4), 5(3), 20, 48, 56 to 60, 66, and 67(3) of the Building Amendment Act 2013 come into force on 1 January 2015).
- Prescribed checklist & prescribed disclosure statement. Please note that the Consumer protection – checklist and disclosure (MBIE – Information)
- Must be provided by the contractor to the client before the contractor and the client enter into a residential building contract if the price for the building work is not less than the prescribed minimum price of $30,000 including GST.
- May not contain any differences from the forms that are prescribed in schedules 1 and 2 of Building (Residential Consumer Rights and Remedies) Regulations 2014. In other words, do not change the content or order of content of documents if you are creating your own branded documents. For further guidance on building consent amendments see the MBIE website.
Building Societies Regulations 1989 (SR 1989/33) (Reprint – 1 April 2014)
Building (Specified Systems, Change of Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 (SR 2005/32) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act 2002 (SR 2002/17) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (SR 2002/33) (8 August 2017)
Consulting on protection from fire 2014 – Changes to acceptable solutions and verification method for the protection from fire and backcountry huts
Construction Contracts Act 2002 (SR 2002/46) (Reprint – 1 September 2017)
Construction Contracts Amendment Bill (SR 1997/3)
Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (SR 1993/91) (Reprint – 1 September 2017)
Contractual Remedies Act 1979 (SR 1979/11) (Reprint – 1 September 2017)
Crimes Act 1961 (SR 1961/43) (Reprint – 28 September 2017) – relevant to the Owner-Builder exemptions for Restricted Building Work
Earthquake Commission Act 1993 (SR 1993/84) (Reprint – 1 July 2013)
Electricity Act 1992 (SR 1992/122) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Engineering Associated Act 1961 (SR 1961/70) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Environmental Protection Authority Act 2011 (SR 2011/14) (Reprint – 1 June 2017)
Fair Trading Act 1986 (SR 1986/121) (Reprint – 1 September 2017)
Fencing Act 1978 (SR 1978/50) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 (SR 1987/178) ( Repealed 1 January 2017)
Residential pools are dealt with under:
Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 (2017/17) (11 May 2017)
Fire Safety and Evacuation of the Buildings Regulations 2006 (SR 2006/123) (1 July 2017)
Fire Service Act 1975 (SR 1975/42) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Fire Service Commission – Gazette Notice 03 May 2012 – (Issue No. 49/1377) (3 May 2012) Notice that copies of certain applications for Building Consent must be provided to the New Zealand Fire Service Commission
Food Act 2014 (SR 2014/32) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 (SR 1974/169) (Reprint – 4 January 2017)
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (SR 1996/30) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (SR 2015/70) (28 September 2015) This Act replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 which was repealed, on 4 April 2016, by section 231(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (2015 No 70).
Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulation 2016 (SR 2016/13) (15 February 2016)
Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 (LI 2016/15) (15 May 2017)
Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2007 (SR 2007/92) (Reprint – 1 April 2008)
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 (SR 2014/26) (29 November 2016)
Income Tax Act 2007 (SR 2007/97) (Reprint – 1 October 2017)
Local Government Act 2002 (SR 2002/84) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (SR 1987/174) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 (SR 1957/88) (Reprint – 1 March 2017) – relevant to the Owner-Builder exemptions for Restricted Building Work
Official Information Act 1982 (SR 1982/156) (Reprint – 3 June 2017)
Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 1976 (SR 1976/69) (Reprint – 1 April 2010)
Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006 (SR 2006/74) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Privacy Act 1993 (SR 1993/28) (Reprint – 28 September 2017)
Property Law Act 2007 (SR 2007/91) (Reprint – 1 September 2017) Part 6 on special power of the court deals with common problems between neighbours:
- Subpart 1 – Accessing neighbouring land.
- Subpart 2 – Wrongly placed structures.
- Subpart 3 – Landlocked land.
- Subpart 4 – Trees and unauthorised improvements on the neighbouring land.
- Subpart 5 – Division of property among co-owners.
- Subpart 6 – Setting aside of dispositions that prejudice creditors
Property Law Amendment Act 1975 (SR1975/36) (19 September 1975)
Registered Architects Act 2005 (SR 2005/38) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Registered Architects Rules 2006 (SR 2006/161) (Reprint – 12 March 2010)
Residential guidance (Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes) (published on 30 May 2015) Updates and clarifications to the residential guidance on MBIE website.
Residential Tenancies Act 2007 (SR 1986/120) (Reprint – 1 September 2017)
Resource Management Act 1991 (SR 1991/69) (Reprint – 18 October 2017)
Resource Management (National Environmental Standards Relating to Certain Air Pollutants, Dioxins, and Other Toxics) Regulations 2004 (SR 2004/309) (Reprint – 6 November 2008)
Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Air Quality) Regulations 2004 (SR 2004/309) (Reprint – 1 July 2017)
Sale of Liquor Act 1989 (SR 1989/63) (Reprint – 18 December 2013)
Unit Titles Act 2010 (SR 2010/22) (Reprint – 30 May 2017)
Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006 (SR 2006/84) (Reprint – 1 March 2017)
Acceptable solutions and verification methods
Acceptable solutions used to be called Compliance Documents.
Amendments to Acceptable Solutions and Verification methods:
Effective 1 January 2017, there have been 28 acceptable solutions and 10 verification methods have been amended. Read more…
Protection from fire – frequently asked questions update
The Acceptable Solutions and the Verification Method for Protection from Fire (C/AS1-C/AS7 and C/VM2) have been subject to an ongoing process of continuous improvement and review. Many of the improvements have been and will be informed by feedback and requests for clarification. Refer to Fire Programme for updates.
MBIE has developed a list of FAQs so that the answers to common questions can be shared openly. These FAQs are continuously updated as part of our ongoing monitoring of the implementation.
- FAQs update: BC Update 162: Protection from Fire
- Interpretations: Acceptable Solution’s C/AS1 – C/AS7 interpretations
To provide feedback or recommend additions go to MBIE FAQs, contact us page.
- Five building standards and handbook are now FREE online:
- NZS 4121:2001 Design for access and mobility: Buildings and associated facilities
- NZS 3902:2004 Housing, alterations and small buildings contract
- NZS 4218:2009 Thermal insulation – housing and small buildings
- NZS 4514:2009 Interconnected smoke alarms for houses
- NZS 8500:2006 Safety barriers and fences around swimming pools, spas and hot tubs
- SNZ HB 3604:2011 Timber-framed buildings – Selected extracts from NZS 3604:2011
- Standards New Zealand
- NZS 3604:2011 Timber-framed buildings: Please ensure that you are using the latest version of NZS 3604. The changes to this standard reflect changes in building practices over the last 10 years. This is a core resource that designers and builders need to be familiar with. Please check amendments to this, made as a consequence of the Christchurch earthquake findings. Refer to Code watch below.
- MBIE guidance: Using NZS 3604 Timber-framed buildings.
- Standards New Zealand is seeking feedback two public consultations:
- Building consent information confidentiality: Ombudsman’s opinion re Privacy Act, Building Act, and LGOIMA
- The Building Act 2004 sets out the rules for the construction, alteration, demolition and maintenance of new and existing buildings in New Zealand (MBIE website).
- Codewords – Latest issue: Our building controls email newsletter will keep you up to date with Building Performance news and information. Codewords issues are available for two years after their publish date (then archived). If the issue you are looking for is older, please contact MBIE.
- The Compliance Schedule handbook (scroll down to bottom) has been updated and is effective from 14 February 2014.
- Documenting Fire Safety Designs – IPENZ Practise Note 22.
- E2 Risk Matrix – updated guidance (MBIE website).
- Frequently Asked Questions – Protection from Fire (BCU 162).
- Guide to applying for a Building Consent (residential buildings) (PDF 3MB).
- Restricted Building Work and information on licensing categories.
Determinations (Building Act Determination)
A determination is a binding decision made by the Building System Performance of MBIE to solve disputes or questions about the rules that apply to buildings, how buildings are used, building accessibility, and health and safety. Visit the Building System Performance (MBIE) website for further information on this service.
The Review of Liability Law: progress to date
Sapere Research Group and Buddle Findlay were asked by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment to review the implications the current liability rule (as it relates to negligent acts) in the building and construction sector.
Sapere’s role was to assess the economic arguments for alternative rules in terms of their effect on incentives, efficiency, and underlying behaviour.
The intention of the work was to assess the merits of alternative legal rules in terms of the Government’s ultimate goal of enhanced accountability in the building and construction sector. Buddle Findlay and Sapere did not find evidence (either in law or economics) that a change to the current rule of joint and several liabilities would improve accountability. Rather, other rules for allocating liability look more unpalatable and are only likely to worsen the situation.
View the Buddle Findlay & Sapere Report on Legal update on Public Law – Joint and Several Liability (25 January 2013).
MBIE latest Cabinet paper: Building Act Review: Review of Joint & Several Liability (7 June 2016)
Law Commission releases Report on:
- Liability of Multiple Defendants and
- Government Response to Law Commission Report Liability of Multiple Defendants
- Law Commission Review of Joint & Several Liability – Issues Paper 32 (Nov 2012)
Chapman Tripp Article (03 December 2012)
IMPORTANT NOTICE: to all Designers and Builders
Significant changes have been made to the Building Code and these affect building structure (B1) and external moisture (E2) documents. Read the updated guidance on E2 on MBIE website.
In addition, new guidance documents have been introduced for barriers, reinforcing of concrete slab-on-ground floors, and building on soils subject to liquefaction. For more information, go to the MBIE website and refer to:
- Building on ground with liquefaction potential
- Pile design options for shallow depths of liquefaction
Last updated: 2017-12-19