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Extract from Capital Property Investor article by Mike O'Malley BRANZ Marketing. For further information ring 0900 59090

The main rule to remember is that whether a building consent is required or not, any work such as additions, alterations or refurbishment must comply with the New Zealand Building Code. If refurbishment involves the removal of lead paints or other hazardous substances such as asbestos, it is essential to comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
Building a Deck: If a deck structure is more than one metre off the ground it requires a building consent and must have a balustrade which children cannot climb or squeeze through. If the deck is less than one metre off the ground it does not require a building consent or a balustrade.
Carport or Garage : A carport or a garage requires a building consent and must be built to withstand the loads from wind and earthquake and, for a garage but not a carport, building elements within one metre from the boundary must be fire rated.
Fences: Fences normally require a building consent only where the fence is over two metres in height.
Retaining Walls: Any wall retaining a bank used in situations such as landscaping requires a building consent only when the wall is over 1.5 metres in height. If a wall is used to support a structure or driveway above, it automatically requires a building consent no matter what height.
Solid Fuel Heater Installations: A solid fuel heater requires a building consent whether it is a free standing unit or inbuilt, because if it is installed incorrectly it will create a fire hazard.
Change of Use: Any building which is intended to be used for a purpose which differs from its existing use must have a building consent.
Re_Roofing and Re_cladding: Where the new cladding is the same as the existing, a consent is not normally required, however, where there is no roofing underlay below an existing metal cladding the new roofing material would require underlay as part of the Building Code requirements.
Demolition: Any demolition work requires a building consent.
Alterations & Additions: Additions and alterations require a building consent and, depending on the type of occupancy, the existing building may require upgrading.
Plumbing & Draining: In general, any plumbing and drainage work requires a building consent and the work must be carried out by a suitably qualified person.
Electrical: Electrical work, both new or alterations, except work involving a system or feature required to be included in a compliance schedule, does not require a building consent but must be carried out by a registered electrician or certified by a registered electrician. The owner may request an Energy Certificate of Compliance from the electrician stating that the work has been carried out in accordance with the Electrical Regulations.