What is a minor variation?


Legal definition of ‘minor variation’

Regulation 3 of the Building (Minor Variations) Regulations 2009 defines a minor variation as follows:

3 Minor variation defined

(1) A minor variation is a minor modification, addition, or variation to a building consent that does not deviate significantly from the plans and specifications to which the building consent relates.

(2) The following are examples of minor variations and do not constitute an exhaustive list:

(a) substituting comparable products (for example, substituting one internal lining for a similar internal lining)
(b) minor wall bracing changes
(c) a minor construction change (for example, changing the framing method used around a window)
(d) changing a room's layout (for example, changing the position of fixtures in a bathroom or kitchen)

(3) The examples in subclause (2) are only illustrative of subclause (1) and do not limit it. If an example conflicts with subclause (1), subclause (1) prevails.

(4) To avoid doubt, a minor variation does not include any building work* in respect of which compliance with the building code is not required by the Building Act 2004.

*Building work defined under 3 (4) above is any type of work associated with the construction of a building that does not need to comply with the Building Code. This is not the same type of building work as defined under section 7 of the Act.

Some examples of where regulation 3(4) is relevant (that is, where a change can happen as of right without the need to seek approval for a minor variation) include, but are not limited to:

  • built-in shelving, storage units or seating in a residential dwelling
  • changing most wall coverings in a residential dwelling from paint to wallpaper, or vice versa
  • kitchen or bathroom joinery carcasses
  • skirting, ceiling coving or decorative mouldings.

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: