Restricted Building Work (RBW)

If you’re doing or supervising building or design work as part of the construction or alteration of residential buildings, this work may be classified as ‘restricted building work’ (RBW). You must be a licensed building practitioner in the appropriate class to do or supervise this type of work.

A lot of residential building work will include RBW.

If the work does not require a building consent then it is not RBW. 

Building categories covered by RBW

RBW relates to residential construction and design, for certain houses and small to medium apartment buildings. It can be new construction, or alterations to an existing building.

Definition of a house

For the purposes of RBW, a house is a free-standing, fully detached building consisting of a single residential unit. It can also have one or more residential facilities such as a foyer, laundry, garage, etc. 

Definition of a small to medium apartment building

For the purposes of RBW, a small to medium apartment building: 

  • contains 2 or more residential units (apartments) or residential facilities (foyer, laundry, garage, etc) 
  • does not contain commercial units or facilities (it has no shops)
  • has a maximum height of less than 10m (the vertical distance between the highest point of its roof – excluding aerials, chimneys, flagpoles and vents – and the lowest point of the ground). 

Types of work that are RBW

RBW is building or design work that is critical to the integrity of a building. In particular, it ensures the building is structurally sound and weathertight.

RBW includes:

  • the primary structure (construction or alteration) – all the structural elements of the building that contribute to resisting vertical and horizontal loads
  • external moisture management systems (construction or alteration) – the building elements and systems which prevent the ingress of external moisture and help control moisture within the building fabric
  • fire safety systems(design) – the building elements intended to protect people and property from fire.

Is it RBW? Get the verdict

Restricted Building Worrk verdict

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