The Building Act 2004 provides an avenue for the Council to use its discretion where your building work is a little outside the scope of exempt building work provisions.

Under Schedule 1 clause 2 you can apply for a discretionary exemption.

Work completed under a discretionary exemption needs to comply with all building code requirements, its important to note that:

  • discretionary exemptions can’t be issued for work that has already been completed
  • you will need to include the same level of information you would supply for a building consent
  • there is no request for further information process, so if it’s not supplied it can’t be considered
  • we consider applications on a case by case basis
  • there is no statutory timeframe for us to make a decision – so allow plenty of time for processing your application in your planning
  • there are no inspections carried out, and no code compliance certificate issued
  • responsibility for compliance with the Building Act and building code sits with you as the building owner.

When considering applications we

  • look at whether your work is being completed by qualified and experienced people
  • check that your application shows a good understanding of the Building Act
  • decide if we can be satisfied on reasonable grounds that your finished building work will likely meet the building code, or if it not then that it is unlikely to endanger people or any building on the same land or other property.

If your application is refused you’ll be given the reason why. Depending on the findings, you may

  • be able to reapply with additional supporting, or
  • need to apply for a building consent.

No matter the outcome of our decision, payment is required to cover the time spent on reviewing your application. Charges are on a time and cost basis – see our fee schedule for details.

Responsibilities under the Building Act

  • Building owner - you are ultimately responsible for ensuring any exempt building work meets the building code and other relevant legislation
  • Designer - is responsible for ensuring that plans and specifications provide sufficient detail to result in the building work complying with the building code
  • Builder - is responsible for:
    • carrying out the building work to the plans and specifications and ensuring building work not covered by a building consent complies with the building code, and
    • ensuring that any restricted building work is carried out or supervised by a licenced LPB.
  • The Territorial Authority (the Council) - is responsible for applying its discretion in making a decision to grant or refuse the exemption application taking into consideration:
    • the likelihood that the work would comply with the building code, or
    • that it is unlikely to endanger people or any building.

The responsibilities placed on each party by the legislation are clear, so it’s important that the right people are involved in your project.  More information is available under roles and responsibilities.

We suggest you use suitably experienced professionals to ensure the success of your project.