Building and maintaining New Zealand’s homes and buildings

All building work in New Zealand must meet certain requirements to achieve safe, healthy, durable homes and buildings. These requirements support our goal to grow New Zealand for all.

Why this is important

A fit-for-purpose, performance-based building regulatory system helps protect the public’s safety and property and lift the sector’s performance. It supports efficiency while maintaining building quality.

This system specifies who can do building work and how to do it. It also provides checks and offers consumer protections.

Current building rules, ways to comply and guidance

Our Building Performance(external link) website explains how you can meet the current building legislation and regulatory requirements.

Building regulatory system

New Zealand’s building regulatory system sets out a framework to promote sound decision-making during the building process. The legislation and regulations work together as the building regulatory system:

  • Building Act 2004 — the primary legislation governing the building and construction industry
  • Building Code — contained in Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 1992, sets the minimum performance standards buildings must meet
  • Building Regulations — detail for particular building controls (eg, prescribed forms, list of specified systems, definitions of 'change the use' and 'moderate earthquake', levies, fees and infringements).
Hierarchy of New Zealand building control system

Hierarchy of New Zealand building control system

New Zealand’s building regulatory system is performance-based. Performance-based regulation focuses on how a building must perform in its intended use. Unlike prescriptive regulation, performance-based regulation does not specify how to achieve this performance by describing how buildings must be designed and constructed. In practice, this means there can be many ways of meeting the requirements.

Our role

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is the steward of New Zealand's building and construction regulatory system. We work alongside building practitioners, government agencies, other regulators and the wider construction industry to understand what matters to the sector and to improve the regulatory system.

This includes looking at how the building regulatory system protects lives at an acceptable level of risk and cost.

Our work also includes:

  • managing the system that regulates building work and monitoring its effectiveness
  • reviewing the Building Code and producing documents that show how to comply with it
  • a dual regulatory role, with building consent authorities undertaking daily operations
  • monitoring the performance of councils, in relation to building work
  • investigating complaints and making determinations about disputes on certain building matters
  • providing advice and guidance to the Government and the wider sector on issues and topics of interest to building and construction.