2 May 2024

Government to tweak Building Act to make building a home easier

6:53 am on 2 May 2024
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Photo: 123RF

The government is trying to reduce the time it takes to build a home by enabling minor changes to be made to a building consent without having to apply for a new one.

In a statement, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk said the coalition government was focused on making it easier and cheaper to build homes in order to rebuild the economy and get Kiwis into their homes quicker.

"New construction data from Stats NZ released in April shows that it takes around 569 days on average for a home to be built after it receives a building consent," Penk said.

"This means that, once you account for the time it takes to issue a consent, it takes nearly 600 days to build a house in New Zealand. In the face of a housing and cost-of-living crisis, this is simply too long."

Penk said Kiwis who need to swap out comparable building products because of a shortage, for example, currently need to submit a whole new consent or wait for the product to become available - adding delays and costs to the build.

Chris Penk

Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

"That is why the government is clarifying the definition of a 'minor variation' and introducing 'minor customisations' to the Building Act. This will provide more flexibility, which will help reduce delays and lower the cost of building and renovating.

"Building Consent Authorities will still need to assess building work to ensure it complies with the Building Code, but Kiwis won't need to submit a new consent for minor product or design changes."

According to Stats NZ, homes consented in the June 2023 quarter took 163 days on average to have a first inspection.

A final inspection for homes consented in the September 2022 quarter took 533 days on average.

And for homes consented in the June 2022 quarter, it took 569 days on average to get a code of compliance certificate.

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