3.4 Internal linings and finishes in existing dwelling

Vinyl flooring, carpet and plasterboard wall lining by a doorway between two rooms

A building consent is not required to replace or alter a dwelling's internal linings and wall, ceiling and floor finishes. 

This exemption allows you to replace or alter any or all of the linings and finishes of walls, ceilings or floors of an existing dwelling (whether single or multi-unit). Unlike exemption 1 (general repair, maintenance, and replacement), this exemption does not require you to use comparable materials.

As wall and ceiling linings often provide bracing and fire resistance, we recommend you seek advice from an appropriately qualified building practitioner before carrying out any such work.

Wet area or level entry showers are generally outside the scope of this exemption.

Wet area showers need building consent on building.govt.nz

If you are not sure whether proposed building work could affect Building Code compliance including with fire safety, structural performance and internal moisture requirements, seek the advice of a suitably qualified person.

What is exempt

  • Replacing the ceiling lining (which is a bracing diaphragm) in an existing semidetached dwelling because of impact damage, with a new bracing diaphragm.
  • Replacing earthquake-damaged lathe and plaster wall linings in an existing detached house with wood panelling to dado height over full height plasterboard sheets.
  • Replacing a dwelling's tongue and groove floor boards with particle-board sheets.
  • Replacing a dwelling's plasterboard internal linings with new plasterboard.

What needs consent

  1. Replacing internal linings and finishes in commercial and industrial buildings, unless the proposed work is covered by another exemption.
  2. Installing a tiled wet area shower in an existing dwelling will require a building consent. This is because the construction of a wet area shower generally includes structural modifications to the flooring system.

What the law says

12. Internal linings and finishes in existing dwelling

Building work in connection with any internal linings or finishes of any wall, ceiling, or floor of an existing dwelling.

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: