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Building Amendment Act 2013

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The Building Amendment Act 2013 was passed by Parliament on 27 November 2013. It is the result of a comprehensive review into the Building Act 2004.

This Amendment Act is part of a package of changes which introduce new measures to improve the building and construction sector, ensuring that it delivers good quality, affordable homes and buildings and contributes to a prosperous economy.

Amendments which take immediate effect include:

  • The type of work that does not require a building consent has changed
  • Higher penalties for doing building work without the appropriate consents now apply
  • A number of terms and definitions have been changed
  • Councils have increased authority to restrict entry to buildings that may be near to buildings that are dangerous
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has more power to hold building consent authorities to account
  • The way dams are defined and measured has changed.

Immediate changes

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Changes to the dam safety scheme

Changes are being made to improve the efficiency of the dam safety scheme. The Building (Dam Safety) Regulations are currently being drafted and will come into force 1 July 2015. 

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New consumer protection measures

Cabinet have agreed new consumer protection measures as a result of the Building Amendment Act 2013.

In summary, these measures include;

  • Mandatory written contracts for residential building work costing $30,000 or more (including GST)
  • A requirement for building contractors to provide checklists and disclose certain information for residential building work $30,000 or more (including GST) or when they are asked for this
  • Minimum content that must be included in all residential building contracts
  • Clauses that are taken to be included in a residential building contract that does not contain all of the minimum content, or in a contract for work $30,000 or more (including GST) that is not in writing
  • Information that a building contractor must provide to their client after the building work is completed
  • Infringement fees of $500 for breaching the contract, disclosure or checklist requirements.

View the Regulations for consumer rights and remedies in relation to residential building work Link to the Legislation website.

View the Infringement Offence Regulations Link to the Legislation website.

View the Commencement Order in Council for consumer rights and remedies in relation to residential building work Link to the Legislation website.

View the Cabinet paper for consumer rights and remedies in relation to residential building work »

Checklist

  • You can print this checklist or email the PDF directly to your clients.
  • You must not make any changes to the checklist – you cannot add your business logo or contact details.
  • If you have been hired by the main contractor, you do not need to provide this – no matter the value of the building work.
  • You may be fined $500 if you do not provide the checklist when required.

Download the prescribed checklist [PDF 410 KB, 2 pages]

Disclosure statement

  • Use the attached template to produce your own disclosure statement.
  • If your business is not an individual, partnership or limited liability company, you will need to write ‘none of these’ against the relevant question and provide a description of your entity (eg a trust).
  • You cannot change the information on the disclosure statement, but you can send other separate documents at the same time.
  • If you don’t have an answer for one of the questions, please write ‘not applicable’ rather than leaving a blank space.
  • You’re welcome to print this document on your own letterhead as long as this does not affect the text in any way (watermarks are not permitted).
  • If you have been hired by the main contractor, you do not need to provide this – no matter the value of the building work.
  • You can be fined $500 for not providing the disclosure statement when required.
  • Anyone who knowingly provides false or misleading information, or who knowingly leaves out information they are required to provide in the disclosure statement, is liable on conviction to a fine of up to $20,000.

Download the disclosure statement [PDF 47 KB, 2 pages]

Default clauses

If you are undertaking residential building work costing $30,000 (including GST) or more, and you don’t have a written contract or if your written contract doesn’t include the minimum content specified in the Act, there are new default clauses which will be considered to be part of your contract. A default clause won’t override an existing clause in your contract on a similar topic.

Implied warranties

The law sets out implied warranties that apply to all residential building work for up to 10 years, regardless of whether or not there is a written contract or what the contract terms are.

From 1 January 2015, the first 12 months from the date that residential building work is complete counts as a ‘defect repair period’. During this time it is the contractors’ responsibility to prove that any defects are through no fault of their own (or their product) if there is a dispute about whether or not the matter is a defect.

Implied warranties cover almost all aspects of building work from compliance with the Building Code to good workmanship and timely completion of building work.

New remedies for breaches of implied warranties

From 1 January 2015 there are also new ways for homeowners to take action when the implied warranties under the Building Act 2004 have not been met. These cover:

  • What happens when the breach can be remedied.
  • What happens when the breach is substantial or cannot be remedied.
  • The meaning of a substantial breach.

View the Remedies for breach of implied warranty - section 362L to 362P in Part 4A of the Building Act 2004 Link to the Legislation website.

Download the booklets

Next steps

The regulations come into force on 1 January 2015. A comprehensive advice, information and education campaign will be rolled out to support the regulations.

Keep an eye on our website and newsletters for updates.

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More information