Building rules to nail cowboys



ARTICLE Donna Blaber First published in Renovate magazine

As of March 2012 any structural work or work that affects the weathertightness of a residential building such as load bearing walls, foundations, roofing and cladding, is now classified as Restricted Building Work and must be completed or supervised by a Licensed Building Practitioner. That is, a person registered with the government’s Building and Housing Department.

Most building plans that require building consent from local council are examples of Restricted Building Work, with the exception of kitchen installation and pool fences. As a basic rule of thumb, if it doesn’t involve work to the home’s primary structure or weathertightness, then it is not Restricted Building Work.

The new rules are part of the Building and Housing Department's Build It Right campaign to improve the quality of building and renovating homes, and to avert disasters such as leaky building syndrome. Only work completed by Licensed Building Practitioners will only be issued with a Code of Compliance. Now, if an unlicensed builder, sub-contractor or designer carries out restricted work, or supervises the work, then he/she could be fined up to $20,000.

There are seven licence classes: designers, builders/carpenters, external plasterers, bricklayers and blocklayers, foundation specialists, roofers and on-site supervisors or managers. Meanwhile, architects, gasfitters, plumbers, electricians, drainlayers and chartered engineers which are registered with their own professional authority are already considered licensed.

Homeowners can easily check whether or not tradespeople are registered, as all professionals will carry an identification card. For more information on the rules visit: