Restricted Building Works in New Zealand

This could be the end for owner builders in NZ.

“How these changes affect you. New legislation came into effect 1 March 2012 which introduced the concept of restricted building work.

If residential building work is structural and/or affects the weathertightness of the building, then it may be restricted building work. This means you must employ a Licenced Building Practitioner (LBP) to design and undertake that work. An LBP must either do the work themselves or be supervised by somebody who is a registered LBP.

LBP’s include:
– Designers
– Carpenters
– Roofers
– External Plasterers
– Brick and Blocklayers
– Foundation specialists

Professional Engineers, Architects, Plumbers and Gasfitters are treated as Licensed Building Practitioners and can carry out some restricted building work.

These changes apply from now.”

Anonymous: “I refer to this as profit by legislation. The big building and building supply companies can’t let you build your own as they don’t make money. They have the money and influence. They don’t want to stop you just get their cut.

There are many reasons for it. Part of it was seeds planted by the previous labor government to protect union workers. Another is NZ had a major building disaster where homes that were built that leaked water years later. This was due a lot to get rich quick builders during a building boom. Owner/builders built to last and didn’t make the same mistakes but are paying for the cheap practices of profiteers.”

Owen: That’s terrible news. I’ve always believed people have the right to build their own home without excessive government interference. It’s a basic human right. These new rules (only in New Zealand at this time as far as we know) remind me of my blog post the other day about Building Codes are a Slippery Slope. Codes do have certain advantages, especially in highly populated areas and for commercial structures such as schools. But when society starts adopting codes for all buildings, it’s an open invitation for runaway government regulation, control and corruption. For instance, your project might get turned down while someone else who pays a bribe gets their project accepted. Every tradesman will be put through the wringer with endless training and certification programs – all at worker’s expensive of course. And obviously this will drive up the cost of construction considerably. In the end, few will gain at the expense of many.

This system will pretty much kill affordable housing. The only way to build affordable housing to code using professionals is building tiny crackerbox apartments on a large scale such as ‘Projects’ (ghetto housing). We’ve already seen how these types of housing units fail and contribute to social breakdown. That’s why the US government has been tearing them down for the last 10-20 years in inner cities.

And this system will eventually kill natural building, as well as stifle creativity and experimentation. Gone will be the innovative homebuilder who builds his own zero energy earth sheltered home out of local materials. And it will cause untold cultural problems for those who have been living in earthen houses and bamboo houses for countless years. Maybe that’s part of the nefarious plan – drive poor people off their land in villages to work in sweatshops in urban areas where it’s easier to control them and tax them to death.

I haven’t heard of this new restrictive building code spreading elsewhere. It would be a very sad day if it does. New Zealanders: vote all the bums out of office before it’s too late.

14 thoughts on “Restricted Building Works in New Zealand”

  1. Yes, building codes are a type of “rent-seeking,” the act of stealing wealth from others through legal privilege.

    The largest and most damaging form of rent-seeking, though, comes via freehold land titles, which enable a few to own the Earth and extract rent from the rest of us. This is the land monopoly, and it is why “housing” costs many of us our lives.

    It would be nice to reform the building codes, but it would still leave in place an economic system in which a rural, off-grid existence is the best most could hope to afford.

    • Yes, I believe you are right. The whole system is rigged against the common man. What are your suggestions for unplugging from this system or overcoming the problems?

  2. Thank you regarding your superbly written articles not to mention all the best with your site. I know it is quite popular in the search, thats how i found you..

  3. I got this email today from someone in New Zealand:
    “The war isn’t lost so the battle is still on. Plus I talked to a friend who does straw bale.

    His quote” The word is that the legislation including the ‘owner builder clause’ will come through which will mean that people will still be able to build their own home.

    As it stands you do not have to be a LBP to build with SB as Straw is out side of any licensing class. If there is a timber frame, then a LBP would have to erect the timber frame but anyone can install the bales…..”

  4. “Maybe that’s part of the nefarious plan – drive poor people off their land in villages to work in sweatshops in urban areas where it’s easier to control them and tax them to death.”

    There’s no maybe about it – that is the plan – profits require high density settlements. Doesn’t mean you have to play along with it though.

    I’m sure the existing houses will be grandfathered in, otherwise it might cause too many waves. What they’ll do is require permits for any work on those houses – when you go to get a permit, they’ll unfortunately decide that the maintenance/renovations are unsafe, and they’ll require you to rip down that grandfathered in house, since you’ve already admitted that it needs work, by applying for a permit.

    So, if your earth/bamboo house needs work, do not apply for a permit, do not use a contractor( who will be legally required to report major work being done ). Do it yourself, or with trusted friends. If anyone asks about it make it out to be cosmetic work. Thankfully, earth/bamboo houses can be owner maintained when they do need work, and you have no moral obligations to work with, or be truthful with scumbags that want to take what you’ve lawfully acquired through the sweat of your brow, or that want to coerce you into living life on their terms.

  5. Someone should build a small green home and document the building and what the building police do afterwards.Film it all with a small digital camcorder and post it on line.I almost did this,i think building a small efficiant home than getting hassled is horrible.I do think for a contractor building multiple trac homes that codes are a good idea.The usa isnt that far off on this than NZ.

  6. Odd. Maybe we are using different browsers. Google image ” Karl Heiss strawbale” and you will see it. There is also a pic of his teepee where they lived during construction.

  7. Hi Owen and followers of this blog. I want to share a story about a very dear friend of mine, the late Karl Heiss. Karl, who is originally from Los Angeles met his wife Marissa and moved to Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. They built a straw bale house and started their family. They weathered some extremely cold winters but carved out a successful life on their small plot of land. They even started a successful Argentine Mate’ importing business. Tragically, they were in a horrible car accident in 2008 that claimed both Karl’s and Marissa’s lives. Although their lives were cut short, they leave a legacy of inspiration.

    Their story and pictures of their home can be seen here;


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