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New Zealanders have just seen some quite major changes to the building industry introduced at the beginning of March. Up until now it has been relatively easy to build a house yourself, but ammendments to the Building Act now means that there are ‘Restricted Building Work’ requirements that must be adhered to.

The changes now mean that tradesmen must become licensed building practitioners (LBP) to enable them to carry out ‘Restricted Building Work’. The classification of ‘restricted building work’ is that which is critical to the structural integrity and water tightness of a house or appartment. This encompasses foundations, load bearing walls and roofing. If you are a DIYer, this means that you must have your building work supervised by a licensed building practitioner and all licensed practioners will carry a LBP card. Obviously there is still a lot of home improvement and maintenance work which you can still carry out yourself such as installing windows, removing non-load bearing walls, replacing kitchens and bathrooms and building decking up to 1.5 metres. The changes also only cover residential buildings, so you are ok to deal with your own garage or shed too.

It is hoped that this will help avoid a continuation of the ‘Leaky Homes’ problem that New Zealand has suffered from with homes built in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. This period saw a huge rise in houses being built with severe problems with weathertightness, and this has caused an ongoing issue with homes becoming uninhabitable.

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