The 2009 amendment to the Building Act is (in the most part) now in force.
It introduces a new regime “national multi-use approvals” (or MultiProof as the Department of Building and Housing are branding it). This is to enable volume builders of simple buildings to obtain prior approval from the DBH to plans and specifications. The DBH will check compliance with the building code. A building consent will still be needed but the territorial authorities will check site specific issues, making the process quicker, and hopefully cheaper. See www.dbh.govt.nz for more information.
The Building Act also now recognizes that a minor variation can be made to a building consent, without the need for a full application for building consent. The guidance suggests that a minor variation could be processed by an exchange of letters, or possibly on the site of a new property development by plans being annotated and signed by council inspectors. This will depend on the process set down by each territorial authority though.
Expect more changes to the Building Act, and also the new Building Code. The aim is to streamline the processes, this time without compromising quality. The new amendments are a step in the right direction.