In This Update
- Outstanding Code Compliance Certificates
- Ministry of Business innovation and Employment
- Building Warrant of Fitness Auditing
- Swimming pool inspections
- Plumbing and drainage works
- Compliance schedules
- Fees and Charges
- Planning matters
- Tiny homes
- H1 Energy efficiency
- Compliance pathways
- Soak pits
This year we have seen a reduction in the number of building consent applications being lodged with Council. This means that the building control team are focusing on swimming pool inspections and undertaking building warrant of fitness auditing. We will talk about this more later.
Comparisons: January 1 to 20 June figures for 2022 and 2023
- 2022: 200
- 2023: 115
- 2022: $32million
- 2023: $19million
- 2022: 75%
- 2023: 98%
- 2022: 17
- 2022: 105
- 2023: 168
- 2022: 89%
- 2023: 98%
- 2022: $160,000
Outstanding Code Compliance Certificates
We continue to receive calls from owners who have outstanding building consents/Code compliance certificates on their properties. Typically this turns up when a property is being sold and can hold up the sale of the property. For designers and builders/tradespeople, make sure you discuss the CCC process with your clients and agree who will make the CCC application. This can avoid surprise phone calls in the future.
Ministry of Business innovation and Employment [MBIE] Update
Building Code acceptable solutions
The Ministry recently released final decisions on changes to the Building Code acceptable solutions from its 2022 consultation. A new term to look for is deemed to comply pathway.
We note that these are changes to acceptable solutions, the mandatory provisions remain unchanged at this stage. MBIE will be producing a number of amended acceptable solutions across a broad range of Code clauses. These changes will have a variety of transitional provisions often related to how quickly the industry and suppliers can respond to the change and the level of urgency.
There will be changes associated with:
- the design of hollow core floors;
- reduction of hot water temperatures at fixtures for personal hygiene from 55 to 50 degree’s ( this will affect water heaters with factory settings)
- reducing the lead content in taps and other plumbing fittings. Although this is something that traditionally Councils have relied on suppliers you may find questions around this once the changes come through;
- protection of potable water – backflow prevention and the like;
- fire Code clauses
- F7 warning devices in particular affecting domestic smoke alarms.
When the changes come through there are generally transitional provisions and relate to new work, not work that has already been consented. There are a range of matters coming through and its important for designers and tradespeople keep up to date to avoid any unnecessary delays.
Options paper: Review of the building consent system
MBIE is undertaking a review of the consenting system and are consulting on the next series of issues. There are quite a range of issues they are looking at and its important that as many people as possible provide feedback on the proposals. The proposals include:
- Promoting competition in the building regulatory system
- Removing impediments to product substitution and variations
- Strengthening roles and responsibilities
- New assurance pathways
- Better delivery of building consent services
- Better performance monitoring and system stewardship
- Better responding to the needs and aspirations of Māori
- Addressing the interface between the building and resource consent systems
The paper, Review of the building consent system – June 2023, is available to download now.
Consultation closes on 7 August.
Building Warrant of Fitness Auditing
Council is undertaking building warrant of fitness auditing. This means that we review the building warrant of fitness documentation and undertake a site visit. There are fee’s associated with this audit. Following MBIE’s recent review we are required to step up the auditing rates.
At the visit you need to ensure that all the inspection records, both IQP and building owner inspection records, are available.
Contact the building team if you have any questions.
Swimming pool inspections
We are inspecting swimming pools in our District to ensure that they continue to comply with the relevant legislation. We suggest that you check that all your gates are operating properly that latches are working and self locking and that there are no tree’s shrubs or other things close to the fence that children under 5 could use to climb into the pool unsupervised. If you have a small heated pool you are required to ensure that the lid remains closed and locked when not in use.
You can find guidance for compliance at the Building Performance website [https://www.building.govt.nz/building-code-compliance/f-safety-of-users/pool-safety/guidance-for-pool-owners/].
Plumbing and drainage works
We have seen a number of projects including plumbing and drainage work having been done without building consent approval where one should have otherwise been obtained.
In these cases we will forward all of the relevant details to the plumbers gasfitters and drainlayers board.
We continue to find situations where drains, septic tanks etc have been backfilled without the building inspectors approval. Where drains are backfilled without the building teams approval the Code Compliance Certificate may be refused or the drains will need to be exposed.
Where Council’s drainage engineers inspect a drain, this does not mean that the building team has approved the installation. We check different things. You need both inspections.
As-laid drainage plans also continue to be an issue. As-laid drainage plans are basically a minor variation where we can record small changes to the location of the drains.
Recently we have received as laid drainage plans where the work bears little if any resemblance to the approved plans or where additional features have been added that are not on the approved building consent.
For example, drains are on the opposite side of the house, and additional soakpits.
An application for an amendment to the building consent will need to be made where there is going to be a substantial change.
Issues around compliance schedules continue to be a focus for MBIE.
When submitting a building consent application applicants need to describe the specified systems then list the performance standards and the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures to be listed on the building compliance schedule.
When applying for a Code Compliance Certificate, applicants must provide verification that the specified systems are and will continue to perform, to the performance standards listed on the building consent.
MBIE have told us that if you want to change a performance standard for a specific system you need to make an application for an amendment.
Our expectation is that the level of documentation you provide would be consistent with this guidance
You can find out more from MBIE’s guidance on compliance schedules [https://www.building.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/building-officials/guides/exemplar-compliance-schedule.pdf].
Fees and Charges
To avoid any unnecessary holdups please ensure your plans clearly show boundary setbacks.
Please check the District Plan to see what these require.
We receive many questions round tiny homes. We are not able to provide advice to people on how to avoid the need for a building consent.
In addition, we cannot tell people how to comply because there are many ways to comply, and it depends on a variety of situations.
Typically, guidance and the courts have said if the structure is intended to be used as if it were a house ( the term “tiny house” gives some clues straight away) and/or it cannot be quickly and easily detached from any services/foundation etc then it is likely to be subject to a building consent.
Service connections and foundations will typically require building consent In addition to building consent issues there may also be planning requirements that need to be met.
Before contacting Council you need to talk to a design or building professional that understands the law relating to tiny houses. You can talk to them about your dreams and wishes and they can help you achieve that.
Here are some useful links:
H1 Energy efficiency
The transitional provisions for the changes to the acceptable solutions for Code clause H1 Energy efficiency has now come up. Typically we will be looking to see if thicker batts/insulation in the ceilings will be used, floor’s are insulated and double glazing with Low E glass is specified.
If you are using the various online tool’s when establishing insulation requirements you should check if it has been updated to the new acceptable solutions or is still the old acceptable solutions, as an alternative solution.
When processing building consents for compliance with the Building Code typically we look for the means of compliance which is also known as the compliance pathway. More recently MBIE seem to be using the term “deemed to comply” for some reason.
There are many ways to comply with the Building Code. You can use the solutions provided by MBIE these are typically acceptable solutions or verification methods.
When filling out a building consent application the designer need’s to nominate the means of compliance on the form so that we understand how they intend the proposed work to comply with the Code.
Here are some useful links:
As explained in our previous newsletter, the heavy rains we have suffered this year has led to an increase in uncontrolled stormwater.
If you are building in a built-up area, we may require evidence of onsite testing of soakage associated with soakpits.
Designers should discuss this with their clients and drainlayers as part of their design process.