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Choosing the right people for your type of building work

Last updated: 5 September 2016

Make sure your building professionals are right for your project and can confidently meet Building Code requirements.

The rules about building change for different types of buildings, what they’re used for and how they’re built. You will need to hire people with suitable skills and experience for your job. You must use licensed people for some residential building and design work.

Most plumbing, electrical and gasfitting work must be undertaken by licensed or certified people.

Think about whether your project:

  • is simple, average or complex
  • needs a building consent
  • needs a licensed building practitioner (ie involves restricted building work)
  • is a renovation or new build
  • has more than one ‘use’ (such as a shop, with an apartment attached).

A complex project could mean one with innovative design, techniques or products. It can also refer to a difficult site or renovation. Renovations often pose more challenges than new builds.

It makes sense to use practitioners with suitable experience and skills. They key things are to:

  • ask for references
  • get more than one quote
  • get a contract (or at least an agreement in writing).

Work on a home

A safe, healthy and durable home is important – to your family, finances and future. Some design work and building work to a house, townhouse or small apartment building is so important it must be done or supervised by a licensed building practitioner (LBP).

Restricted building work sets out which projects you must hire an LBP for. Generally, this will be work to the structure or weathertightness of a home. It also covers fire safety design in smaller apartment buildings.

LBPs are designers, builders, roofers, external plasterers, brick and blocklayers, foundation and site workers. LBPs are licensed and their skills and knowledge are regularly assessed for currency.

Work on other buildings

Commercial and other buildings are likely to need the services of design professionals, or engineers where a building consent is required. The plans and specifications in the building consent need to demonstrate how the proposed work meets the requirements of the Building Code.

You can choose to use builders or tradespeople who are LBPs whether or not one is required.

If you are planning work to an existing building with a specified system (certain safety and essential systems), the compliance schedule may need to be amended.

Amendments to compliance schedules has more information.

Finding the right person

Choosing a building practitioner has information about:

  • finding an LBP and checking the register
  • using a housing company or other builder
  • getting quotes
  • requirements for contracts – particularly for work over $30,000 or more (including GST).

Choosing a designer or architect explains:

  • different options and qualifications of designers
  • tips for keeping on budget
  • what you can expect from your designer
  • why contracts are valuable.

Hiring subcontractors shows what to look for when agreeing terms with a main contractor and what to expect if you nominate subcontractors.

Tenders and quotes gives information on:

  • the difference between an estimate and a quote
  • payment terms
  • comparing quotes – materials and fixtures.

DIY (do-it-yourself)

You can still choose DIY (do-it-yourself) as long as you meet requirements and apply for the right consents and permissions.

Owner-builder obligations explains more.

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: