Building infringement guidelines

The Building Act

In New Zealand, the building of houses and other buildings and structures including dams is controlled by the Building Act 2004 (the Building Act).

The Building Act 2004 repealed the Building Act 1991 and introduced some significant changes to the way the building industry in New Zealand is regulated, with the intent of providing greater assurance to consumers.

The Building Act provides a framework to support and promote safe, high-quality developments that will satisfy the expectations of consumers, the Government and the building industry. Continued successful implementation of the Building Act is critical for development and growth in all regions of New Zealand.

The Building Act’s objectives

The Government’s aims in introducing the Building Act are to achieve:

  • more clarity on the standards we expect buildings to meet
  • more guidance on how those standards can be met
  • more certainty that capable and competent people are undertaking the work
  • more scrutiny in the building consent and inspection process.

Ongoing implementation of the Building Act is a significant undertaking that will bring about considerable change in the regulatory building control sector.

The Building Act helps ensure better decision-making throughout the building process, and provides more assurance to consumers and homeowners that buildings are designed and built right the first time.

Under the Building Act, building owners are required to seek approval from their local building consent authority to carry out building works at specific sites. In practice the builder/designer/architect acting as the owner’s agent may also obtain approval on behalf of the building owner.

Approval is sought to ensure that proposed building work complies with the Building Code1 (eg building, plumbing, drainage, fire safety and accessibility requirements). Dam safety is also covered by the Building Act and dam owners must ensure they comply with relevant dam safety provisions in the Building Act.

The agencies that have a role in building compliance

There are three types of agencies in New Zealand that have a role in building compliance. These are: territorial authorities, regional authorities and building consent authorities. The Building Act requires territorial or regional authorities to be accredited and registered if they wish to act as building consent authorities.

The powers under the Building Infringement Regulations and these guidelines relate to territorial and regional authorities. These guidelines may also be of interest to building consent authorities.

Infringement notices were introduced on 1 July 2008 when the Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2007 came into force. The Regulations provide territorial and regional authorities the option of issuing infringement notices to any person who commits an offence by not complying with certain provisions of the Building Act. These provisions are those specified in the Building Infringement Regulations. The person who commits the offence could be a builder, designer, architect, property manager, site manager, independent qualified person (IQP), building owner, tenant or any other person who commits an offence by not complying with those provisions.

Recent amendments to the Regulations were made by the Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Amendment Regulations 2012, which took effect on 3 September 2012.

Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2007


The Building Infringement Regulations are made under section 402(y), (z) and (za) of the Building Act 2004.

Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2007

An infringement offence is an offence as declared by the Building (Infringement Offences, Fees, and Forms) Regulations 2007.

Visit the Legislation website

The Building Infringement Regulations specify the exact offences under the Building Act 2004 that may be dealt with as infringement offences and the fees for each one (see What offences are covered by the Building Infringement Regulations?).

The Building Infringement Regulations also prescribe forms for infringement notices and infringement reminder notices (see Appendix 3).

Schedule 1 to the Building Infringement Regulations is attached in Appendix 2.



  1. The Building Regulations 1992 contain the mandatory New Zealand Building Code, which sets out performance standards that all new building work must meet. It covers aspects such as structural stability, fire safety, access, moisture control, durability, services and facilities.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: