Review of the building consent system

closed
Submissions closed: 04 September 2022, 5pm

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is asking for feedback on issues with the current building consent system.

Review of the building consent system issues discussion document

The building consent system provides assurance that new building work complies with minimum performance requirements under the Building Code.

The review is looking at the building consent system from end to end, starting at the building design phase through to the issuing of a code compliance certificate.

In July 2022, MBIE released an issues discussion document for public consultation along with a policy position statement on risk and liability. The issues discussion document aimed to build a shared understanding of issues with the current consenting system as a basis for considering future system change.

The discussion document was broken into 3 key sections:

  1. the role of government and third parties, such as builders, designers and architects, in providing assurance that buildings are safe, healthy and durable;
  2. desirable outcomes that good building consent regulation should seek to achieve; and
  3. issues with the current building consenting system.

The issues discussion document identified 4 desirable outcomes that an efficient and effective building consent system should have. MBIE asked for feedback on whether these were the right outcomes, and the extent to which the current system already delivers on these outcomes:

  1. The system is efficient, risk-based, has proportionate compliance costs, and allows for innovation.
  2. Roles and responsibilities are clear so that all participants across the system have a good understanding of their own responsibilities and the extent they can rely on others for assurance.
  3. The system is responsive, flexible and agile, and seeks to continually improve and adapt to changing circumstances.
  4. Regulatory requirements are clear and decisions are robust, predictable, transparent and broadly understood.

The issues discussion document also identified a number of issues that are barriers to achieving an efficient and effective building consent system. MBIE asked for feedback on whether we had identified the right issues, whether there were other issues, and stakeholder’s experience with the system:

  1. Roles and responsibilities across the system are not always well understood, accepted, applied or consistently enforced.
  2. Building consent authorities and the sector face capacity and capability constraints in dealing with an increasing volume and complexity of building work.
  3. All consents go through the same basic process, which is not always responsive to the level of risk, complexity of the building work, or type of project.
  4. Performance of the system is insufficiently monitored and MBIE is not yet the strong central regulator that was contemplated in the original system design.
  5. The processing of building consent applications is devolved to territorial authorities, which has led to variability and unpredictability in the consent process and its outcomes.

Following public consultation, MBIE has analysed the submissions and published a Summary of Submissions document. It is now undertaking further work to confirm the key issues and develop options for a new or revised building consent system. Further information on next steps will be published in 2023.

Risk, liability and insurance

To support the building consent system review, MBIE has released the Risk, Liability and Insurance position statement.

The joint and several liability rule is out of scope for the review of the building consent system. MBIE is not consulting on the policy position statement.

The policy position statement provides supplementary background and context that clarifies the Government’s position on risk, liability and insurance matters for the building and construction sector. Submitters may find the information in the policy position statement useful in preparing their submissions.

The policy position statement sets out:

  • why the joint and several rule is the appropriate liability rule for the building and construction sector
  • why the capping of building consent authority liability costs or limiting building consent authorities’ duty of care is not considered necessary or beneficial at this time
  • why a publicly-provided building defects insurance scheme is not currently justified.

The statement also presents the case for a whole-of-system focus to building reforms, which includes reviewing:

  • the building consent system
  • occupational regulation of building and construction professions
  • consumer protection in the building and construction sector.

A whole-of-system approach will support the sector to get building work right the first time, while ensuring there is a fit-for-purpose assurance system that manages the risks associated with building work.

Last updated: 21 July 2022