Making it easier to build granny flats (2024)

Days left

19
open
Submissions due: 12 August 2024, 5pm

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for the Environment are seeking feedback on options to make it easier to build small, self-contained and detached houses, commonly known as ‘granny flats’ on property with an existing home on it.

About the consultation

The Government is focussed on increasing the supply of affordable homes for New Zealanders. As part of this, the Government is proposing to make it easier to build small, self-contained and detached houses, commonly known as ‘granny flats’ on property with an existing home on it.  

We are seeking feedback on options to enable granny flats up to 60 square metres in size, to be built without needing a building or resource consent, so long as they meet certain criteria.  

The criteria granny flats must meet under the proposed exemption will form the checks and balances required to ensure they meet building performance and quality requirements, and appropriately manage environmental effects. 

Finding the balance between speed, safety, and risk to ensure New Zealanders have safe, healthy and durable homes, built as quickly as possible, is important. This is why we want to understand all perspectives on potential costs, benefits and risks for the criteria we are proposing that granny flats and small homes will need to meet.  

We want to hear from as many people as possible, including:  

  • those thinking about building a granny flat on their property 
  • those wanting to live in a granny flat
  • builders and tradespeople 
  • mortgage lenders and property insurance providers 
  • those responsible for building control, district planning and infrastructure development.  

The consultation covers both building and resource management system questions; you can choose to respond to any sections - you do not have to complete them all. You can also suggest other ideas and things to consider. 

If you have received more than 1 invitation to participate in this consultation, we apologise. You only need to complete 1 submission. 

What we are proposing

To make it easier to build granny flats and increase the supply of affordable homes for all New Zealanders. This consultation looks at two key pieces of legislation that set out the rules for residential building, the Building Act (2004) and the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).  

Building Act

The Building Act sets out the rules for the construction, alteration and demolition of buildings. Regardless of whether building work is exempt from a building consent or not, all building work must comply with the New Zealand Building Code.   

The building system proposals in this consultation include:  

  • establishing a new schedule in the Building Act providing a building consent exemption for simple standalone houses up to 60 square metres in size  
  • the conditions and criteria for these homes to be exempt from a building consent  
  • assessment of the associated short and long-term benefits, costs and risks  
  • sufficiency of occupational licensing requirements to ensure all building work will meet the Building Code  
  • potential barriers to the uptake of the proposed exemption
  • time and money savings compared to the status quo  
  • additional or alternative ideas to the proposed options.  

Initially, it was suggested that an engineer's report may be required for granny flats built without needing to undergo the building consent process. However, this could introduce new engineering services and additional costs. Instead, we are proposing that all work is conducted or supervised by competent professionals under current occupational licensing requirements to ensure all building work will meet the Building Code.

Resource Management Act

Many district plans already allow granny flats without resource consent, but there’s a lack of consistency and different standards across the country.  

A national environmental standard (NES) would need to be created to permit a granny flat on sites in rural and residential zones without resource consent.  An NES means changes can come into force quickly.  

The NES would apply in rural and residential zones where it is anticipated most granny flats will be built. We want to know whether people think the NES should apply to other areas too, such as mixed-use zones where there’s a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial buildings. 

While the proposed changes would make it easier to build granny flats, changes must be balanced against existing issues, including managing flood risks. Certain district plan rules will still need to apply.   

A set of permitted activity standards are proposed to cover aspects such as the size, how much of a property can be covered by buildings and how close a granny flat can be to a neighbouring property boundary.

Relevant documents

What’s next?

Feedback will be carefully assessed and used to inform advice to the Government on ways to amend the Building Act and resource management systems to enable easier building of granny flats.  

Following this consultation, work will be completed with the aim of giving effect to these changes by mid-2025.  

While this work is underway, Officials will complete the necessary process for implementing the changes as soon as possible. This includes producing guidance material to support the understanding of the changes and how to use them once they are in force. 

How to make a submission

Submissions will close on Monday, 12 August 2024 at 5pm.

You can make a submission by:

  • Completing the online survey
  • Completing the submission form template provided in the list of documents above, and:
    • emailing it as a Microsoft Word document to: grannyflats@mbie.govt.nz
    • mailing it to: 
      Consultation: Making it easier to build Granny Flats
      Building System Performance
      Building, Resources and Markets
      Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
      PO Box 1473
      Wellington 6140
Last updated: 21 June 2024