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New Zealanders set to spend more on home renovations as new building consent exemptions come into effect

31 August 2020

If you can suddenly hear more hammers and saws than usual echoing around your neighbourhood, it might be because there has just been a whole swag of building project types (as of 31/08/2020) made newly exempt from requiring a building consent.

If the Government’s plan achieves its estimates, there will be 9,000 fewer consent applications lodged with local councils over the next 12 months, with savings of up to 18 million dollars enjoyed by kiwi homeowners (not to mention a big reduction of stress and frustration normally caused by waiting for bean counters to get to your case).

We’ll include links to articles covering the types of exemptions in detail below, but the common trait is that they are all low-risk building work such as carports and sheds. If you’re starting to hear warning bells go off (with thoughts of the ignominious failure that is the leaky home debacle being stirred), there is no reduction of quality standards. While some new exempt building work can be done solo with no outside help, all work must still comply with the Building Code and some new exempt building types must still engage the services of either Chartered Professional Engineers or Licensed Building Practitioners just as they were required to before becoming exempt from building consent.

A recent economic survey by Tony Alexander (31 May 2020) has revealed home renovations as the household spending category that will increase the most over the 3-6 months. Moreover, gardening and landscaping supplies (plants, tools, etc.) is a spending category that New Zealanders are also planning on increasing.

Accompanying these planned spending increases are a slew of pandemic-driven cut backs on travel, motor vehicles, eating out, shoes and clothing, furniture or appliances, technology, online services and sports gear. We’re predicting that with these spending adjustments, combined with kiwis being forced to spend more time at home (noticing those poor finishes and dated decor!) and the new building consent exemptions, we’ll be seeing many new faces at the yard. We’re excited at the prospect of helping many more DIYers and professionals beautify their homes and gardens.

New Building Consent Exemptions

Please follow the links below to see a full explanation on this list of new exemptions, each has its own set of specific stipulations and conditions.

  • Single-storey detached buildings
    Includes sleepouts, sheds, greenhouses and other similar structures
  • Carports up to 40 square metres
  • Ground-floor awnings up to 30 square metres
  • Ground-floor verandas and porches up to 30 square metres
  • Permanent outdoor fireplaces or ovens
  • Flexible water storage bladders
  • Ground-mounted solar panel arrays
  • Small pipe supporting structures
  • Short-span (small) bridges
  • Single-storey pole sheds and hay barns in rural zones

Official MBIE Resources:

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