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.

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.

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.

Restricted building work 

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.

Owner-builder exemption(external link) — Building Performance website

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.

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.

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.

The LBP scheme

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. 

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. 


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.