When you rebuild and repair your home you need the right people on the job.
- Use Licensed Building Practitioners for Restricted Building Work.
- Check out contractors and get more than one quote.
- Apply for an Owner-Builder Exemption if the work requires a building consent and you want to do the work yourself.
If you use building professionals, make sure they are right for your project and can confidently meet Building Regulations requirements. You need to hire people with suitable skills and experience and you must use Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) for some residential design and building work.
Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs)
LBPs are registered and required to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. LBPs are licensed for the type of work they do and have been independently
assessed as competent to do that type of work.
The licence classes include:
- brick and blocklaying
- external plasterering
Not all building practitioners are licensed
Check out the LBP website for more information and to search the Register of LBPs.
Restricted building work
LBPs must be used to design and carry out restricted building work (RBW). Restricted building work is residential design, construction or repair work that:
- requires a building consent
- and involves or affects a home’s:
- primary structure (eg foundations and framing)
- weathertightness (eg roofing and cladding)
- certain fire safety design for small to medium sized apartments (eg sprinklers and fire alarms).
Your LBP must provide you with documentation about the work they have done or supervised. It’s called a Record of Work or a Certificate of Work and you’ll need to provide it to the council at the end of the rebuild.
Building professionals such as architects, engineers, plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers are able to do or supervise some restricted building work because of their qualifications.
Most gas or electrical work requires licensed professionals but isn’t called restricted building work. The licensed professional should give you an energy work certificate to show the work is safe and complete. You will also need this certificate if the work is part of a building project that must be signed off by the council.
Choosing a building practitioner has further information.
Selecting designers and builders
Ask around. Some of the best recommendations for designers and builders come from friends, family and colleagues who have had positive experiences.
If the job involves restricted building work, check that the contractors you plan to use are LBPs. The Licensed Building Practitioner register has details of LBPs in your area. Trade associations can also provide information.
If your project will cost $30,000 or more (including GST) you are legally required to have a contract with your builder contractor (see Section 4 for more details). In addition, your builder contractor must give you:
- a disclosure statement including information about skills, qualifications, licensing status and any insurance or guarantees related to the work
- a standard checklist that includes information about the steps of a rebuild or repair and minimum requirements for a contract.
Good plans, and any drawings or specifications, are key to your build. They are part of your building consent application.
Choosing a designer or architect is an important stage in any project. You need someone who knows the Building Act and can design to the Building Regulations.
You can use:
- registered architects
- architectural designers
- an architectural draughtsperson
- chartered professional engineers (for specific, more complex design)
- builders or a building company who may be able to arrange your
- drawings and designs
- companies who provide a standard house design package (often referred to as ‘group home builders’).
Getting more than one quote from prospective building contractors will provide more certainty with pricing. The lowest price is not necessarily a good indicator of quality.
Check all disclosure information and compare experience, insurance cover and familiarity with similar types of projects before you enter into a contract. Give the building contractors as much information as you can about what you want, your budget and your expectations. This will help you get off on the right foot.
If you want to do additional renovation work at your own cost, while your home is repaired, this is the time to decide on that and set a budget for the additional work.
If your rebuild or repair includes restricted building work check your building practitioner is an LBP.
Find out as much as you can about the building contractor’s competence and business standards before making any decisions.
- whether they are trading as an individual or part of a company and how long the company has been trading
- the skills, qualifications and licensing status of the people who will carry out the work
- what financial backup or insurance is available to cover the cost of fixing any faults caused by the contractor
- their track record, including any disputes
- their GST number and proof of any licenses they may hold.
Doing the work yourself
You can rebuild or repair your own home using the Owner-Builder Exemption, but you need to meet Building Regulations requirements, apply for any consents
and let your local council know.
You are an owner-builder if you:
- live in or are going to live in the home (this includes a bach or holiday home)
- carry out the restricted building work to your own home yourself, or with the help of your unpaid friends and family members
- have not used the Owner-Builder Exemption to carry out restricted building work to any other home in the previous three years.
If your work requires a building consent and you want to do it yourself, apply for an Owner-Builder Exemption. You complete a statutory declaration form to show you meet the owner-builder criteria; the form is witnessed and signed by a justice of the peace or other authorised person; and the form is given to your local council when you submit your building consent.
Rebuild or repair work done under a building consent will be listed as a do-it-yourself job on your Land Information Memorandum for any future buyers to see. All building work must comply with the Building Regulations, and will be inspected as usual during your building process by the council. You are responsible for the quality of work or any defects.
Family members and friends can help you with restricted building work on your home as long as you are not paying them.
Any restricted building work that is not done by you or your unpaid friends or family members must be carried out or supervised by an LBP who holds the appropriate licence class. They must also give you a Record of Work.
Obligations and responsibilities of owner-builders has further information.