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Preventing disputes

If you are thinking about building and renovating, there are a few things you need to know. The more informed you are, the less likely you are to find yourself in a building dispute.

This section covers:


The building owner and the regulatory environment

The Building Act 2004 provides guidance on what a building owner should expect to be responsible for during the building process.

You can read this here: Section 14B - Building Act 2004

This section is intended to help you:

  • Know what Restricted Building Work is
  • Know whether a building consent is required
  • Understand what the Building Code is
  • Know how the consenting process works


Knowing what Restricted Building Work is

In March 2012, building regulations came into force that defined critical residential building elements as Restricted Building Work (RBW). If you are hiring someone to carry this work out then you are required to ensure that they are an LBP. Information on RBW can be found here:

If you are experienced with building work and are considering carrying out the building work yourself, you may be able to apply for an owner-builder exemption. Information on the owner-builder exemption can be found here:


Knowing whether a building consent is required

A building consent is a formal approval granted by your local council under the Building Act that allows a person to carry out building work.

Information on building work that does not require a building consent can be found here:

Building work must comply with the Building Code, even if a Building consent is not required.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) guidance publications on the Building Act 2004 can be found here:


Understanding what the Building Code is

All new building work in New Zealand must comply with the Building Code, which is the first schedule to the Building Regulations 1992. The Building Code sets out performance standards that building work must meet, and covers aspects such as structural stability, fire safety, access, moisture control, durability, services and facilities.

Building plans and specifications are assessed by building consent authorities (councils) to ensure they comply with the Building Code before a building consent is issued.

Information on the Building Code can be found here:


Knowing how the building consenting process works

Building work includes work in connection with the construction, alteration, demolition or removal of a building. A council will issue a building consent only when it is satisfied the proposed building work will meet the requirements of the Building Code.

Information on the resource and building consent processes can be found here:

You can read MIBE's guidance for applying for a residential building consent here:

The Understanding the regulatory environment booklet [1.68 MB, PDF] provides a basic overview of the building regulatory environment.

Selecting the right people

If you are considering hiring designers or tradespeople to do Restricted Building Work then you will need to ensure that they are appropriately licensed.

Information on the LBP scheme can be found here:

The LBP public registrar includes the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the LBP;
  • The name of any company that the LBP is associated with;
  • Any qualification held that is listed under schedule 2 of the LBP Rules 2007;
  • The licence class and status of the LBP licence including when they were first licensed;
  • Their disciplinary history for the last 3 years including their suspension history for not renewing their licence on time. 


Having the right paperwork

In this section we will direct you to information on:

  • Construction Contracts Act (CCA)
  • NZS3910

Construction Contracts Act (CCA)

The purpose of the Construction Contract Act 2002 is to provide a process for identifying what payments are required and when they are due and quick and simple procedures to resolve payment disputes.
More information can be found via these links:


NZS3910 is a standard form of general conditions of contract for incorporation into construction contract documents. It enables Principals, Engineers, and Contractors to quickly establish contractual arrangements that deliver a wide variety of building and civil engineering projects. Contracts based on this Standard will be comprehensive but at the same time easy to understand and will reflect fair risk allocation between the parties.

This standard can be purchased via this link:

Last updated 6 November 2013