Building consent exemptions for low-risk work

Last updated: 1 July 2019

If you're planning to carry out building work you need to check whether a building consent is required. Here is an overview of building work that usually doesn't require a building consent, and can be carried out by anyone.

You don't need a building consent for building work listed in Part 1 of the Building Act's Schedule 1 because it is "low-risk" work. It is classified exempt work because it will not affect your building's structure or fire safety, and will not pose a risk to public safety.

Though the work in Part 1 can be done by anyone, you should consider employing a tradesperson for some or all of your project. 

Search the online public register for the right licensed building practitioner for your work.

Part 2 and Part 3 of Schedule 1 also list work that can be done without a building consent, if you engage the right professionals.

Plumbing and drainage work includes information about work listed in Part 2 that doesn’t need a building consent if it is carried out by an authorised person.

Engineer-designed exempt work includes information about work listed under Part 3 that doesn’t need a building consent if designed or supervised by a Chartered Professional Engineer.

You should always check with your local council to make sure your proposed building work does not have any district planning implications, as you may need to get a resource consent or some other permit. This will be needed before you can start any building work.

What the exempt work includes

The following guidance is from Part 1 of our guide to Building work that does not require a building consent.

1. General repair, maintenance, and replacement of building parts
2. Territorial and regional authority discretionary exemptions
3. Single-storey detached buildings not exceeding 10 square metres in floor area
4. Unoccupied detached buildings 
5. Tents, marquees, and similar lightweight structures 
6. Pergolas 
7. Repair or replacement of outbuilding 
Existing buildings: additions and alterations 
8. Windows and exterior doorways in existing dwellings and outbuildings
9. Alteration to existing entrance or internal doorway to facilitate access for persons with disabilities
10. Interior alterations to existing non-residential building 
11. Internal walls and doorways in existing building 
12. Internal linings and finishes in existing dwelling
13. Thermal insulation 
13A. Ground moisture barrier 
14. Penetrations through building components
15. Closing in existing veranda or patio 
16. Awnings 
17. Porches and verandas
18. Carports 
19. Shade sails
Other structures 
20. Retaining walls 
21. Fences and hoardings 
21A. Means of restricting access to small heated pools 
22. Dams (excluding large dams) 
23. Tanks and pools 
24. Decks, platforms, bridges, boardwalks, etc 
25. Signs
26. Height-restriction gantries 
27. Temporary storage stacks 
28. Private household playground equipment
Network utility operators or other similar organisations 
29. Certain structures owned or controlled by network utility operators or other similar organisations 
30. Demolition of detached building 
31. Removal of building element 

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: