Building, renovation and maintenance

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

These requirements are set out in legislation and regulation that determines how work can be done and who can do it, while also ensuring the system has checks and consumer protection in place. The building regulatory system ensures that building work can be carried out more efficiently while maintaining quality.

Current building rules, ways to comply and guidance

Our Building Performance website explains how you can meet the requirements of the current building legislation and regulation.


Building regulatory system

The building regulatory system sets out a framework to promote good quality decisions being made during the building process. The legislation and regulation 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 (for example, prescribed forms, list of specified systems, definitions of 'change the use' and 'moderate earthquake', levies, fees and infringements).

[image] 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 the building must be designed and constructed. In practice, this means there can be many ways of meeting the requirements.

MBIE’s role

MBIE 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 responds to risk, to protect 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 Control 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.

New Zealand Housing and Construction Quarterly provides quarterly data and analysis on the housing market, construction and social housing.