Government scraps low-risk building consents

Homeowners, 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

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

“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,” Jenny Salesa said.

“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 utilise 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.

“These exemptions are just one part of my broader building system reform programme, which includes Construction Sector Accord Transformation Plan, the Construction Skills Action Plan, and Building Law reforms,” Jenny Salesa said.

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.

The Package

The package provides six new exemptions and expands four of the current exemptions

It contains proposals for exemptions for building work such as:

  • larger single-storey detached buildings up to 30 square metres;
  • carports with a maximum floor area of 40 square metres;
  • awnings with a maximum size of 30 square metres;
  • verandas and porches with a maximum size of 30 square metres;
  • outdoor fireplaces or ovens;
  • flexible water storage bladders for irrigation and firefighting only, up 200,000 litres in storage capacity;
  • short-span bridges on private land without public access;
  • pipe supporting structures;
  • ground-mounted solar array panels in rural zones and outside rural zones;
  • detached single-storey pole sheds and hay barns.

While exempt from a consent, this work must still comply with the Building Code. A complete list of building work that will be exempt is available on the Building Performance website at

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