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Exempt building work provisions

Under the Building Act, you can do some types of building work without a building consent. However, even if you don’t need a consent, you must still comply with some legislation such as the Resource Management Act and Building Code.

Wooden hutWhat work can I do without a building consent?

Schedule 1 of the Building Act states consent is not needed for some types of work, such as: minor alterations, sleepouts, carports, farm buildings and some minor plumbing and drainage work.
Owners relying on these exemptions must meet certain provisos, including:

  • some work must be performed by licensed individuals such as plumbers, drainlayers, engineers or Licenced Building Practitioners
  • footprint size:
    Building exemption
  • height in relation to boundary and other buildings:
    Building exemption 2

How do I decide if my work meets exemption criteria?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides a useful guide for exemptions: Building work that does not require a building consent. You can use this guide to decide if the work you want to do meets exemption criteria.

It’s best to consult with a competent design or building professional if you are unclear whether your work meets criteria. 

See MBIE's BuildIt Tool for more useful information.

Recording exempt work

You should keep records of any exempt building work you have done that show who did the work and any documentation they provided. It’s important this information is available to future purchasers should you ever wish to sell your property. Council do not hold records of work that has been done without a building consent.

Discretionary exemptions

The Building Act states Council may allow for additional work to be done without a building consent, beyond that already described in law.
To apply for a discretionary exemption, you will need to:

  • fill out an application
  • provide supporting information and
  • pay a fee.

These are considered on a case by case basis.

Prior to lodging your exemption application, please call Council and make an appointment with the Duty Building Technician on: 871 5000. At that appointment you will need to pay the non-refundable fee. (Please see Fees and Charges for more information).

You will receive written confirmation if Council is satisfied that the work meets the discretionary exemption criteria, and this information will be added to the property file.

Building consents

If the work is not exempt you must apply for a building consent before starting your building work. If you don’t, you will then have to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance. This is a complex process, so it’s much simpler for you to get your building consent before starting work.




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