The Building Act 2004 review continues. The Building Amendment Bill (No 3) had its First Reading on 9 December 2010. It is now with the Select Committee for review and submissions on the bill close on 4 March 2011. There are a number of interesting changes proposed in this bill. The first change of note is the division of building consents into 4 categories:
- low-risk building consents
- simple residential building consents
- standard building consents, and
- commercial building consents.
As the work becomes "riskier", the requirements step up, so that a hierarchy of building consents is created. If, for example, commercial building work is being carried out, the owner will need to first obtain from the building consent authority written approval of:
- the risk profile of the building work; and
- the quality assurance system that will apply to the building work.
Low risk and simple residential building consent applications are to be processed by a building consent authority within 5 working days and all others within 20 working days.
Upon completion of the relevant building work the inspection requirements for the building consent authority are also stepped, so that riskier work is more carefully inspected and subject to more requirements. Low-risk work is not to be hampered by overly burdensome regulatory requirements.
The definitions that will tell us what is low risk building work, residential building work, standard building work and commercial building work will be contained in the regulations, so we do not know where the lines will be drawn yet.
Speeding up the consent process for low-risk work will, I am sure, be welcomed by those in industry. Unfortunately it will also mean getting to grips with 4 new definitions of building work. Don’t forget we already have the restricted building work regime which will continue to apply. This could make things overly complicated. If you are interested in this area and want to assist in drafting some submissions, please let me know.
The code compliance certificate is also to be replaced by the consent completion certificate. Is this simply a change of name? More on this to follow…