Previous determinations

Determinations are made by MBIE on matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. Rulings are legally binding, but only in relation to each case.

Previous determinations may provide some useful guidance for those faced with similar problems, but note that individual circumstances may vary.

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2022/004: Regarding the authority's refusal to grant an extension of time in which to issue a code compliance certificate

This determination considers whether the authority was correct in its decision to refuse to grant an extension of time to issue a code compliance certificate for alterations and additions to an existing dwelling. The determination discusses the process of considering an extension of the time in which to issue a code compliance certificate including sections 92, 93 and 94 and 95A of the Act.

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2022/001: The authority's proposal to issue a notice to fix and whether a unit is a vehicle or building

Note: This determination is subject to appeal

This determination considers whether a structure that has some features of a vehicle is a "building" under section 8 of the Building Act, and therefore whether the authority can issue a notice to fix for construction of the unit without building consent. The determination discusses factors to consider when deciding if the unit is a "vehicle", and if it is "immovable" and "occupied on a permanent or long-term basis".

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2021/022: Regarding two notices to fix and whether work carried out is building work

This determination considers the issue of notices to fix for construction of something that the owner claims is not a building. The determination considers whether the construction was of a vehicle, as the owner claimed, rather than a building. The determination also sets out the approach taken in High Court and District Court decisions that have considered the question of whether something with the characteristics of a vehicle were buildings.

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2020/019: Regarding the authority's decision to issue a notice to fix for an agricultural effluent storage pond

Note: The decision in this determination was confirmed on appeal to the District Court. See Waikato Regional Council v Poseidon Holdings Ltd [2021] NZDC 6951.

Read the appeal judgment.

This determination considers the authority's decision to issue a notice to fix for an agricultural effluent storage pond to the current owner. The determination discusses the relationship of the previous owner and the current owner, and whether the current owner is a specified person for the purposes of section 163 and 164 of the Building Act.

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2020/017: Regarding the issue of a notice to fix in respect of the use of a trailer and timber wall

This determination considers whether the authority was correct to issue a notice to fix in circumstances where the placement of a trailer near a timber wall might enable a young child to gain access to the neighbour's pool. The matter turns on the interpretation of section 116B(1)(a) of the Building Act, which provides that it is an offence to use a building for a use for which that building is not safe.

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2019/069: Regarding the need for a compliance schedule for a cable car servicing a residential dwelling

Note: The decision in this determination was confirmed on appeal to the District Court. See Ford v Auckland Council [2020] NZDC 22162.

Read the appeal judgment.

This determination considers whether the owner of a cable car built in 2000 (servicing the owner’s house) was required to obtain a compliance schedule for the cable car, given there was no such requirement when the cable car was built. The determination also considers how to interpret the requirement for the compliance schedule to include performance standards for the cable car. 

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2019/064: Regarding a proposed notice to fix and whether work carried out is building work

This determination considers the authority’s proposal to issue a notice to fix for work that the authority considers constitutes building work that required building consent.  The issue concerns an abode that has been constructed using a trailer and that the owner contends is a vehicle and not a building.  The matter turns on whether the work carried out was work for or in connection with the construction of a building.

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2019/055: Regarding the authority’s decision to issue a building consent with a section 37 certificate attached, for a proposed building

This determination considers the decision by the authority to issue a building consent with a section 37 certificate attached.  The determination discusses what the section 37 test ‘will or may materially affect building work’ means.

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2019/043: Regarding the issue of a notice to fix for two relocated units on a rural property

This determination considers whether a building consent authority correctly issued a notice to fix in relation to two relocated units. The units, which are on wheels, were built in another district and then transported to the applicant’s property. The determination looks at whether building work requiring a building consent was carried out at the property. 

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2019/036: Regarding a notice to fix and whether a structure on trailers is a vehicle or a building

Note: ​The decision in this determination was confirmed on appeal to the District Court. See Marlborough District Council v Bilsborough [2020] NZDC 9962.

Read the appeal judgment.

This determination concerns a notice to fix issued for two relocated units built on trailers that were relocated onto site and joined via a walkway constructed onsite.  The determination considers whether the structure is a building for the purposes of the Act and whether the units separately are vehicles and not buildings.  It also considers the particulars of contravention identified in the notice to fix and the persons to whom the notice was issued.

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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: