Director Louie’s thoughts on the revised building consent exemptions.

23 Jul, 2020 |

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In recent news, there was a change in the requirements for what kind of work needed building consents and I think this was a shift that was definitely welcomed by most in the industry, including professional consultants like us here at The DESIGNFIRE.

Because there wouldn’t be a need to deal with the council for ‘lower risk’ buildings, it would significantly reduce the cost of construction.

Here are some more of my thoughts on a few of the new exemptions under the legislation.

…Buildings with a maximum floor area of 30 square metres where a Licensed Building Practitioner is to carry out or supervise design and construction…

While the limit has grown significantly, I actually consider that 30sqm is a bit of an arbitrary number. For example, a typical double garage is only slightly more than this. I think it would have been better to match the size of a double garage for standardisation of a prefab structure, thereby further reducing the build cost and providing better flexibility for a future change of use.

Also, I wonder whether clause 3.2 under Schedule 1 of the Building Act will still be enforced.

Clause 3.2 – Schedule 1 of the Building Act (Exemption clauses)
However, subclause (1) does not include building work in connection with a building that is closer than the measure of its own height to any residential building or to any legal boundary.

This dimension usually means between there has to be 2.4-2.7m between the building and the boundary and a larger distance will be required if the site is sloped. However, this is quite a large requirement for small buildings on the many ‘tighter’ sections found in Auckland. Due to this, especially the case of Auckland, many buildings will still require a building consent and of course this could defeat some of the intentions of this change.

From a fire compliance point of view, the residential building and associated structure only require a distance of 1m away from the relevant boundary to avoid a fire rating provision.

Also, the concept of a ‘Notional Boundary’ would not be understood or considered by many who plans to build such buildings – like everyday people. This means that least 2m separation is required to other buildings without fire rating provision, so it would be good to see some more clarification around this in the coming exemption documents.

Definite of a Notional boundary: The boundary which for fire safety purposes, is assumed to exist between two buildings on the same property under a single land title.

The exemption requirement can be found here (yet updated to the new requirement at the time of writing).

So those are my thoughts on what was a rather significant change in building consent legislation and I would certainly be interested in any feedback on the points raised above – or even some of your own opinions on it.

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