Variations and change requests factsheet

If you're a homeowner repairing a leaky home through the Financial Assistance Package (FAP), this factsheet will help you to manage variations and MBIE's change request process. 

This is so you understand what to do if construction is underway on your property and you encounter costs increasing beyond what you planned for. This includes timer remediation.

A variation is an amendment to your contract with your builder. It will arise when you need to change the amount of repair work you do, and may increase or decrease your costs.

If your variation results in a change of scope in your repair or repair costs to the point where your affordability is at risk, you may need to submit a ‘change request’.

A change request is a formal process with us in order to change your interim milestone contributions. One may be needed if your variations increase your repair costs by more than your contingency sum (the amount of money you have in reserve, for unforeseen costs). This change potentially impacts on your ability to afford the remainder of your repairs

You may need to submit a change request if you or we have concerns about the effects of new costs on contributions levels, and your ability to afford your share of the work.

Depending on the scale of changes, you may have to:

  • consult with your designer and have them prepare variation orders and drawings
  • agree the alternative construction options with your builder
  • obtain revised variation price/costs from your builder
  • seek an amendment to your building consent application
  • seek additional funding from your bank
  • submit a change request to us.

Types of variations

Your builder will advise you if your variation is likely to require an amendment to the building consent.

If your accumulated variations do not exceed your available funding, you won't need to advise us of each variation. There will also be no change in the level of milestone payments.

If you chose to do this, your variations will be considered as part of your final claim.

Types of variations could be:

  • discovering a new deficiency which needs to be repaired (such as a roof that wasn't identified in the assessor's report)
  • other unforeseen conditions on site requiring a change in work scope (such as discovering some parts of the house were not originally constructed in the way assumed by your designer)
  • your deliberate choice to increase or decrease the scope of betterment (such as deciding to add a new window or repaint an entire bedroom.

It is vital that you retain all the documentation that relates to variations for approved repair work, as you will need to give it to us when you submit your final payment claim.

At that point, we will review variations and approve those relating to approved repairs. Variations that do not relate to approved repair work will not qualify for contributions.

You may also choose to add (or remove) work relating to betterment at the same time as another variation. Such variations should clearly separate the weathertightness work and costs from the betterment.


If you think you may need a change request, talk to your claims advisor.

Download our design change request approval form for any design changes made within your contingency sum.

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: