The Building Amendment Act 2012 has now been passed by Parliament.
The Building Amendment Act 2012 is the result of a comprehensive review of the Building Act 2004 carried out in 2009/2010 and is aimed at lifting the overall performance of the building and construction sector. The Building Act 2004 is the primary legislation that governs the building and construction sector in New Zealand.
The provisions of the Building Amendment Act 2012 coming into force immediately are:
- An Owner-Builder Exemption from Restricted Building Work (new sections 90A - 90D). If a homeowner meets the prescribed requirements they are able to carry-out critical structural and weathertightness building work to their home.
- New provisions clearly stating the responsibilities of the parties involved in building work (new sections 14A - 14F) with corresponding changes to the purposes and principles of the Act in sections 3 and 4.
- Changes to the names of certain documents. Memoranda are changed to “Record of Work” and “Certificate of Work”. A “Certificate of Work" is a document stating that work complies with the Building Code, and a "Record of Work" is a document stating the building work a practitioner has done.
- Specification of the Minister of Conservation as the territorial authority for certain offshore islands.
- Expansion of the definition of ‘party’ for the purposes of determinations (section 176).
- Clarification of some aspects of the licensed building practitioners scheme, including some new grounds for discipline (section 317) . A licensed building practitioner:
- must not misrepresent their competence
- must carry out or supervise building work only within their competence
- must not behave in a way that brings, or is likely to bring, the licensed building practitioner regime into disrepute
- must not breach the Code of Ethics prescribed under section 314A (note that a Code of Ethics has not yet been prescribed).
- Repeal of Section 363B,, which required building work on public buildings carried out before March 2005 to have a Code Compliance Certificate by March 2010 - the effect being that this building work does not have to have a Code Compliance Certificate by any specific date
- Changes to requirements for compliance schedules and Building Warrants of Fitness.
The majority of the Amendment Act, creating the risk-based consenting system, will be brought into force by Order in Council after regulations containing the details of the system are made.
Back to top
Compliance Schedule and Building Warrant of Fitness changes
A building (not including detached houses/dwellings) requires a compliance schedule if it has a ‘specified system’. Compliance schedules detail the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for each of the specified systems in the building. Every 12 months the owner is required to produce a Building Warrant of Fitness certifying that these procedures have been carried out.
The main changes coming into force immediately regarding compliance schedules and Building Warrant of Fitness requirements
Clarifying when a compliance schedule needs to be amended
Section 106 of the Act is amended to make it clear when a building owner must apply to have their compliance schedule amended to align with the requirements of the Building Act 2004. This includes removing systems and features that are no longer listed as specified systems and adding specified systems that are in the building but not on the compliance schedule. This amendment ties in with the additional content requirements of a compliance schedule (below). Building owners should apply for any amendments as soon as practicable, but in any case must do so before their next building warrant of fitness is due (The intention being all compliance schedules are updated within a year of the amendments taking effect)
New requirements for content of a compliance schedule
It has been made clear that a compliance schedule is required to include a system description of each specified system. See pages 14 and 17 of the compliance schedule handbook for guidance on system descriptions.
Note: None of these changes require building owners to upgrade the systems in their building to a greater level of compliance than what they were originally installed to.
Back to top
There are a number of less significant changes including:
Establishing a procedure for obtaining a compliance schedule where there is no building consent
In some cases a person may need to obtain a compliance schedule where no building work is being carried out (and thus no building consent is required). This could apply, for example, if installation of the specified system did not require a building consent or a building owner has never obtained a compliance schedule, or when an additional system is added in regulation and the building does not already have a compliance schedule. The Act now establishes a process to follow to obtain a compliance schedule in these circumstances. See new section 102A.
More detail around when a compliance schedule must be issued
Section 102 of the Act has been amended requiring building consent authorities and territorial authorities to ensure they are satisfied that the specified systems for the building are capable of performing to the performance standards for those systems before they issue the compliance schedule.
Removing the need for independently qualified persons to be licensed building practitioners
The Building Act 2004 originally provided that, after a period of time, independently qualified persons would be replaced by licensed building practitioners (licensed in system inspection and maintenance). This requirement has now been removed so the Act only refers to “independently qualified person” in relation to inspection and maintenance of specified systems. This reflects the nature of various trades involved in inspection and maintenance and the misalignment with the licensed building practitioner scheme. The amendments also introduce a definition of independently qualified persons (see Section 7).
Minor changes in relation to cable cars
Section 100 of the Act has been amended to allow a cable car that services multiple buildings to only have one compliance schedule for that cable car.. The amendment allows for this to occur but does not make having just one compliance schedule compulsory.
Possibility for new prescribed information to be included in a compliance schedule statement
Section 105(e), relating to compliance schedule statements, has been amended to allow further information to be prescribed which, in turn, will be required to be included on a compliance schedule statement. At this stage, no extra information has been prescribed and therefore compliance schedule statements can be issued as normal.
Back to top