Owner-Builder Exemptions

You are an Owner-Builder if you:

  • Have a relevant interest in the land or the building on which the Restricted Building Work is carried out (i.e. ownership), and are an individual (i.e. not a company).
  • Live in or are going to live in the home (this includes a holiday home or Bach).
  • Carry out the Restricted Building Work to your own home yourself, or with the help of your unpaid friends and family members, and
  • Have not, under the Owner-Builder Exemption, carried out Restricted Building Work to any other home within the previous 3 years.

An Owner-Builder can build their own home or do work on their home that is Restricted Building Work but the Owner-Builder must meet all the statutory requirements. That means that the standard of the work must be to the same level as if it was carried out by a Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP). If you are a suitably skilled owner-builder and meet the criteria of owner-builder, you can carry out restricted building work.

However, if you have any doubts about your design or building knowledge and skill, we strongly advise you employ a licensed building practitioners to do this building work. It is advisable that any owner considering this, checks their level of building knowledge against:

 

Getting an Owner-Builder Exemption

Normally when you apply for a building consent, you would have to declare who the licensed building practitioners are for both the design and construction work. In the case of an owner-builder, you will also have to supply a Statutory Declaration (Form 2b) in regard to the restricted building work that you will be responsible for. This could be for design and /or construction work. The Statutory Declaration form needs to be submitted along with your building consent application, or BEFORE the construction of Restricted Building Work on your home starts.

The Owner-Builder Statutory Declaration Form 2b is available from MBIE’s Building System Performance website under Obligations and responsibilities of owner-builders and their building project

 

Construction work

An owner-builder doing the construction work is responsible for ensuring that the construction work is compliant with the approved plans and specifications, that is, that the construction work is compliant with the Building Act 2004 and NZ Building Code (Building Act 2004, Section 14C).

Even with a Statutory Declaration, there are some areas of construction that an owner-builder cannot do unless they are licensed. Suitable licensed people must carry out this specialised work.

These include:

If the owner-builder chooses to have some aspects of Restricted Building Work carried out by a LBP, they must notify Council of the LBP’s detail prior to construction beginning. Upon completion of this work, the LBP can provide the owner with a Record of Work

Selling an Owner-Builder house

As with other legal documents, the completed Statutory Declaration is kept on the property file for the house being sold. The Declaration not only enables owner builders to do restricted building work they wish to on their homes (or use a family member or friend) but also protects future owners in the event of building failure. As with Licensed Building Practitioners, an owner-builders liability extends to 10 years for workmanship.

Licensed Building Practitioners in the building industry are usually covered to fix defects under warranty from the building organisations they belong to e.g., the Registered Master Builders Federation, and the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand. These organisations have, by mutual agreement, agreed to stand behind the quality of the workmanship of their members. If an Owner-Builder does not belong to either of these, it is unlikely that they will be able to obtain insurances and sureties for this work in the current insurance market.

If an Owner-Builder has retired from the building industry, it would be wise to ask who is providing the unexpired portion of the warranty. For instance, it may have been transferred to another building contractor or to a third-party warranty or surety plan provider.