Offences and penalties
Restricted building work (RBW) is certain residential building work critical to the structural integrity and weathertightness of a building. It must be carried out or supervised by appropriately licensed building practitioners (LBPs).
If not, the people involved are committing an offence under the Building Act 2004. The local council can issue them with an instant fine, or even take them to court. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) can also take them to court.
Notice to fix
If someone not appropriately licensed does or supervises RBW, the council’s first action is often to issue the building owner or building practitioner with a ‘notice to fix’.
The council can choose to issue an infringement notice (instant fine) either with, or separately from, the notice to fix.
If you carry out or supervise (RBW under the following circumstances, you are committing an offence under the Building Act 2004 and the council can issue you with an instant fine.
- When a non-licensed building practitioner carries out RBW, but is not supervised by a building practitioner of the appropriate licence class – $750 fine
- When an LBP carries out RBW, but is not licensed in the appropriate class to carry out or supervise the work – $500 fine
- When an LBP supervises RBW, but is not licensed in the appropriate class to carry out or supervise the work – $500 fine
- When a person claims to be an LBP able to do a certain type of RBW, but is not licensed in the appropriate class – $500 fine
Councils have been able to issue these fines for RBW since 3 September 2012.
The fines provide a way to encourage compliance with building control laws, while giving councils a faster and cheaper alternative to going to court.
Full details are in the building Regulations, below.
Deliberate offence committed under Building Act
If an LBP or anyone involved in building and construction deliberately commits an offence under the Building Act, and the offence is serious, the council or MBIE can prosecute them.
The council or MBIE can also prosecute a home or building owner who knowingly employs a person who is not an LBP (with the appropriate licence) to carry out RBW.
These are serious offences and can result in substantial fines.
Full details are in the 3 sections of the Building Act 2004 below:
- Section 85 – Offences relating to carrying out or supervising restricted building work(external link)
- Section 86 – Offence to engage another person to carry out or supervise restricted building work if person is not licensed building practitioner(external link)
- Section 314 – Offences relating to licensing(external link)
You can read more about how to make or respond to a complaint (and where to go with other types of complaints) in the Complaints section.