Building Act Review
What is the Building Act review?
In 2009 Government agreed to a Terms of Reference for a review of the Building Act 2004 to reduce the costs, but not the quality, of the building control system.
The review found that the building regulatory system is not broken, but that it is costly and inefficient. The review did note that changes made by the Building Act 2004 had contributed much-needed improvements to the quality of building work. The review also found that:
- there are problems ensuring responsibility sits in the right place
- there are weaknesses in consumer protection
- the system is out of balance with undue reliance on building consent authorities
- a change in culture and behaviour across the system is needed.
In August 2010, and in response to the review findings, Government identified several changes necessary to reform the building and construction sector in order to make it easier, more efficient and more cost effective for New Zealanders to build good quality homes and buildings.
At the core of Government’s decisions is:
The implementation of changes as a result of the review of the Building Act 2004 is a significant and important programme of work for the Department of Building and Housing. The mix of regulatory and other changes identified in the review will be implemented – in collaboration with the building and construction sector – over a number of years and will aim to lead to a building and housing market that has both the skills and the productivity to deliver good quality, affordable homes for New Zealanders and that contributes to strong communities and a prosperous economy for New Zealand.
The supporting legislation
There are two pieces of legislation through which the core regulatory changes identified in the Building Act review will be made:
- On 23 November 2010 Building Amendment Bill (No 3) was introduced to Parliament. This Bill proposes changes to the Building Act 2004 to make accountabilities clearer, and provides for a risk-based building consent system.
- On 23 December 2010 Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 was broadened to allow for a wider range of building work to be completed without a building consent.
- On 28 June 2011 Building Amendment Bill (No 3) was reported back from the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. Read the report and view the changes to the Bill the Committee has recommended. This Bill is currently awaiting its second reading.
- On 26 October 2012 Building Amendment Bill (No 4) was reported back from the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. Read the report and view the changes to the Bill the Committee has recommended. This Bill is currently awaiting its second reading. This Bill proposes changes to the Building Act 2004 to introduce consumer protection measures that will help New Zealanders who are building or renovating their home to hold their building contractor to account, and to get any faults fixed quickly and more efficiently.
The regulatory changes are also supported by several streams of work from the Department. Other streams of work include:
- policy advice on whether any change is needed to the application of joint and several liability and to the regulation of guarantee products and services
- improving the integration and presentation of, and access to, information supporting the Building Code
- the design of the building consenting process
- developing the restricted building work regulations
- changes to the Construction Contracts Act.