Fred wants to build a Shed

Whether you are a handyman or not, the Building Act 2004 not only requires you to get a building consent for any type of building but later this year you'll need a licensed builder.

Farmer Freddy, making the most of the mild autumn evenings, is sitting on his deck having a drink. It is starting to get a bit colder though and Freddy thinks he should get on and start building the new utility shed before winter sets in.

Freddy is a pretty useful DIY builder, and he knows he can get a good deal from his mate at the timber yard, so he thinks he'll build the new shed himself.

He gives Pebbles a call to fill her in on his new project and to make sure he's not exposing himself to any legal risks.

"Dad, you can't just go and build a new building. There are a number of hoops you have to jump through first and some hefty penalties if you don't follow the rules.

Also, you really should think about getting a builder in to do it."

Pebbles explains that the Building Act 2004 requires Freddy to get a building consent for any building work before he starts it. Building consents ensure that building work complies with the Building Code, which sets performance standards for buildings.

You need building consents for both new buildings and alterations to existing buildings.

To get a building consent, Freddy must apply to the council with building plans. Once consent is granted, a council inspector will inspect the building at specified stages of the construction to ensure that the work is being done properly.

"Crikey" says Freddy, "it's just a shed. This all seems a bit over the top. What happens if I just go ahead and do it myself without consent?"

"Well Dad," says Pebbles, "if it's anything like the existing utility shed, it'll be a bit bigger than the 10-square-metre threshold for exempt building work. Consent is not required for exempt building work, but you still need to comply with the Building Code. And if you start work without obtaining a building consent, you could be liable for fines up to $100,000. You could also be made to pull the shed down if it was built without a building consent."

"A building consent it is, then," says Freddy. "But, can I do it myself?"

"Yes you can, Dad" replies Pebbles.

"But from 1 November this year, certain kinds of major building works will have to built by a licensed builder, or at least be supervised by one. It's not yet clear what building work will be restricted though. Until then, DIY is still allowed."

"Even so, you may be ok doing the smaller jobs, but wouldn't you be best to leave the big jobs to the professionals?"

"Hmmm," ponders Freddy, "maybe I'll give Bob the Builder a call and see if I can get a quote.


The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document.
If you would like further information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser.
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