Step 1: Get informed

Check out the laws and regulations that cover your rebuild or repair. Know your rights and responsibilities.

  1. All building work must comply with the Building Code.
  2. Know your rights and responsibilities under the Building Act.
  3. Check out other laws that can affect your rebuild.

The Building Code

All building work – even building work that does not require a building consent – must comply with the New Zealand Building Code.

The Building Code sets national building performance standards. It aims to ensure homes stay warm, safe and dry by setting standards for structure, durability, fire safety, access, moisture, and services such as plumbing and energy efficiency.

Although there are national building standards, some design requirements vary from region to region depending on conditions. You, your designer and building contractor are responsible for making sure building work meets Building Code requirements.

How the Building Code works has further information.

The Building Act

The Building Act and its regulations set out the rules for building work and the rights and responsibilities of homeowners.

You are responsible, as the property owner, for ensuring rebuild or repair work complies with the Building Act and regulations. You can contract a building professional (an architect, builder or project manager) to manage the rebuild or repair; but ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure:

  • a building consent has been obtained if required:
    • talk to your local council about whether your rebuild or repair requires a building consent. Most rebuilds and major repairs will require a building consent (the consent will include construction, alteration, demolition and site works). Get your building consent before you start work
  • the build happens as set out in the building consent
  • council inspections occur as set out in the building consent
  • work is carried out by people with the appropriate qualification (check out Step 3 for more information)
  • you advise the council of any changes to the consented plans and carry out any related requirements (variations or amendments)
  • any ‘notice to fix’ is acted on and the work re-inspected (if the council identifies work that does not meet the Building Code requirements or contravenes the Building Act)
  • you pay all required council fees
  • you apply for council sign-off of the build (called a code compliance certificate).

Homeowner rights and obligations has further information.

Other laws

Other laws can affect your project, including council bylaws, the Resource Management Act, health and safety requirements and laws specifying that qualified professionals must do certain plumbing, gas and electrical work. Some of these laws or regulations may be applicable during demolition or removal of your home (for example, removal of asbestos).

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: