What Building Work is Exempt? - No Building Consent Required

Before starting a building project, work out whether it requires a Building Consent or is exempt.

If intending to do repairs or alterations, or intend of having them done without a Building Consent, professional advice is recommended. It is not for QLDC to provide this.

Keep records of the work done, and who carried out the work.

Two types

With Building Consents, there are two types of future building work:

  • Building work that requires a Building Consent (BC)
  • Exempt building work

Both types require building work done to the Building Code.

What building work is exempt?

This is defined in Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. It is titled 'Building work for which building consent is not required'.

Common questions arise with bathroom renovations/refurbishment. Generally this building work is exempt. As it falls within exemptions under Sections 1, 12, 32, 34 and 35.

More guidance is on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Building website and in their detailed guidance document. It has examples of exempted and non-exempted work.

Is exemption automatic?

There are two types of building work here:

  • Work automatically exempted under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. MBIE provides detailed guidance here
  • Work that QLDC can make a discretionary exemption, under Schedule 1, Exemption 2. More QLDC information and the application form is here.

Who is responsible?

It is the owner's responsibility to establish whether building work is exempted. And to make sure that decision is correct. It is not the responsibility of QLDC.

The owner is also responsible for making sure any exempt work complies with the Building Code and any other legislation. Hence the recommendation to seek professional advice. This could include the:

  • Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006
  • Electricity Act 1992
  • Resource Management Act 1991 - consult with QLDC Planning when it is a Heritage or Character building, or there may be an effect on neighbours
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996

What are examples of discretionary exemption? How to apply?

More QLDC information and the application form is here.

Can records be saved, if work is exempt?

Keep records will assist if selling your home in the future. Purchasers and agents are likely to have questions about building work done.

This form can be filled in: 

Importantly this information is simply uploaded. It is not checked or assessed by QLDC.

The form, along with required supporting documentation, can be uploaded to QLDC's online property file for the address. This assists record keeping of compliance and may assist with future property sale.

Can a Building Consent be applied for anyway?

Even if exempt, the owner may consider applying for a Building Consent and a Project Information Memorandum (PIM). These ensure legal requirements are identified and provides appropriate documentation on the property file, that completed work is compliant.