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33. Drainage access points

Access point to underground drainage pipes

A building consent is usually not required to open and reinstate drainage access points, if it is carried out by an authorised person.

What the law says

Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 states the following:

The opening and reinstatement of any purpose-made access point within a drainage system that is not a NUO system or part of a NUO system.

Guidance on the exemption

This exemption covers work to drains via a purpose-made access point and carried out by an authorised person (refer to the glossary).

Example where this exemption could apply

A drain is blocked by a back-up of waste material within the drainage system. The blockage was caused by a child flushing a hand towel down the toilet. The problem is solved by opening a purpose-made access point, removing the towel, clearing the blockage and reinstating the access point.

Example where building consent is required

A multi-storey apartment building has a blocked drain and no access points can be found. The owner is informed that several access chambers will need to be installed for future access. As this involves more than opening and reinstating access points (ie it is outside the scope of this exemption) and since it is not considered minor drain alterations (ie it is also outside the scope of exemption 34 – minor alteration to drains), a building consent is required.

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: