In a deathblow to the legitimate DIY aspirations of the millions of kiwis competent beyond a shadow of a doubt in any building discipline they turn their multi-talented hands to, from the 1st of March 2012 homeowners have been obliged to ensure that only Licensed Building Practitioners carry out Restricted Building Work on their property.
Knowingly engaging someone who isn’t could land an owner with a fine of up to $20k.
Restricted Building Work means;
- (a) ….building work that is—
- (i) critical to the integrity of a building, for example, its envelope and structure; and
- (ii) of a kind declared by the Governor-General by Order in Council to be building work that must be carried out or supervised by a licensed building practitioner who is licensed to carry out or supervise that work; and that Order in Council may relate, without limitation, to certain types or categories of buildings, or parts of buildings specified in the Order in Council; and
- (b) includes design work (relating to building work) that is design work of a kind declared by the Governor-General by Order in Council to be restricted building work for the purposes of this Act; and
- (c) does not include any building work for which, in accordance with section 41, a building consent is not required
(a)(i) and (c) are the most immediately useful to give the flavour of what Restricted Building Work is.
If your building work doesn’t require a building consent, then (assuming you were correct in thinking a consent wasn’t required) it doesn’t include Restricted Building Work.
However, the reverse is not necessarily true – just because you are required to obtain a building consent doesn’t mean that work is automatically Restricted Building Work. For example:
- Fitting new sanitary fixtures where there were not any previously (e.g new kitchen or ensuite)
- Installation of a wood burner
- Domestic wind turbine
- Domestic swimming pool
- Installing a cable car to a home
- Installing other specified systems in small/medium apartments (e.g. smoke alarms, lift, HVAC system)
- Installing insulation to external walls in a home
The devil is in the details…elements of the above tasks might include RBW, but not necessarily so.
Your building design for the consent must be done by an architect, licensed designer or chartered professional engineer, basically so that mistakes on what is and isn’t restricted are minimised, and so you have someone with a professional indemnity insurance policy to sue if it goes wrong.
To assist, your designer is supposed to note all Restricted Building Work on the Project Information Memoradum submitted to Council.
The Department of Building and Housing have a helpful flowchart to assist in determining whether work is restricted:
Not all is lost for DIYers…you can still do the work as long as it is supervised by a Licenced Building Practitioner. If you can find one willing to put their name, reputation, and insurance policy to your work, that is.
full name and any aliases, date of birth;
address for communications, email, phone, fax, website and residential address;
name of any company or body corporate that is associated with the licensed building practitioner;
information about the status and history of the person’s licensing, particularly any action taken under section 318 on a disciplinary matter in respect of the person in the last 3 years; and
whether a person’s licensing was suspended in the last 3 years, the ground under the Act for the suspension (for example, whether for non-payment of a levy that was required from the licensed building practitioner, or on another ground), the period of suspension plus any conditions for termination of the suspension.
All of which will be highly interesting to people holding an unresolved grudge against some cowboy operator or, by screening for disciplinary proceedings, wishing to avoid one in the first place. You can search the register here.
There are a number of licences that can be held by a single tradesperson. These each specialise in an area of the building process. These licences are:
- Brick and Block laying
- External Plastering
Licensed Building Practitioners need to “maintain” their licences and are assessed every two years, although I am a little vague on how they gain their points…through training courses or practical evaluation? Either way, there is at least a framework.
For those of you who are, ought to be, or want to be, Licensed Building Practitioners, there are a series of guides which can be found here.
All in all, the changes to the Building Act should be more detrimental to cowboy operators than DIY enthusiasts who, with the increasing complexity of building envelopes, should be getting their work checked anyway.