Building Regulations and handbooks

Last updated: 21 March 2016

The Building Regulations sets performance standards for all New Zealand building work. This section tells you how to access the Building Regulations and get copies of the handbook.

The Building Regulations is contained in Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 1992. It sets the performance standards that all building work must meet, even if it doesn't need a building consent.

It covers aspects such as structural stability, fire safety, access, moisture control, durability, services and facilities, and energy efficiency.

It sets the minimum standards building work must perform to, but not how to meet them. You cannot do less than the minimum standards, but you can exceed them.

In other words, the Building Regulations is performance-based. It states how a building must perform in its intended use rather than describing how the building must be designed and constructed.

An advantage of a performance-based Building Regulations is flexibility. This allows developments and innovation in building design, technology and systems.

As a property owner you can choose your designs, products or building methods, as long as your building consent application demonstrates that your proposal meets Building Regulations requirements. For example, the Building Regulations specifies how much natural light there must be in a bedroom but not how you must achieve that natural light. Your designs need to show how you would meet that requirement.

How the Building Regulations works sets out an overview of how it is structured.

Different ways to comply provides an introduction to Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and other ways you can show how your plans will comply with the Building Regulations.

Get a copy of the Building Regulations

Visit the New Zealand Legislation website

The Building Regulations is also reproduced in the New Zealand Building Regulations Handbook, which you can view or download. It provides an overview of the regulatory framework, Building Regulations, core definitions, publications referenced, and an index of the Building Regulations, Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods by building element or aspect. It is produced by MBIE.

View the New Zealand Building Regulations handbook

We also produce a Compliance schedule handbook. 

Keep up to date with changes

From time to time the Building Regulations is amended.

Record of amendments is a record of changes to the Acceptable Solutions, Verification Methods and handbooks.

When we make changes to the Building Regulations or to the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods, we undertake consultation first. You can keep up to date with any consultations or amendments by signing up for our news and updates.

Keep up to date

To find out about changes and consultations relating to the Building Regulations.

Visit the MBIE Corporate website


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This information is published by the Your home’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: