Building to be streamlined

A bill that should speed up consents and reduce costs is set to become law after passing through Parliament.

The Building Amendment Bill (No 2) introduces multiple-use building approvals. This measure will reduce duplication and fast-track the consent process for group home builders who build homes on sites across the country using the same, or similar, designs.

The Bill defines a new streamlined process to manage minor variations to building plans after the consent is issued, saving time for applicants and councils. 

Furthermore, project information memorandums, known as PIMs, will become voluntary under the new law.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says the bill has come at a very important time for the building and construction sector.

“The downturn is continuing and building firms need as much help as they can get,” Mr Williamson said.

“The Bill will help boost efficiency and greater productivity at a time when it is most needed; and if builders pass on cost savings, then consumers will benefit too.

Mr Williamson commented that reducing building delays and costs is an important first step but
it doesn’t go far enough.

“Preliminary work on a wider review of the Building Act is progressing and I hope to be able to announce further streamlining measures in due course,” Mr Williamson said.

The review’s terms of reference is currently being finalised but it is expected to cover:

  • What needs to be consented based on actual levels of risk and complexity, with the aim of reducing the amount of building work requiring a building consent. 
  • Taking a good hard look at the underlying risk and liability framework in the sector. 
  • Assessing how the role of Building Consent Authorities might change if more responsibility is transferred to builders, designers, and consumers. 
  • Exploring the extent to which licensed building practitioners could self-certify their work. 
  • Examining the role that home warranty insurance might play in such an environment. 
  • Removing unnecessary building control regulation.