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Navigating Building Exemptions for Seamless Home Improvement

Building Exemptions for Home Improvement

Are you eager to give your beloved home a fresh look or create rejuvenate your beloved home or create a dreamy outdoor haven? The good news is that the journey to your home improvement dreams can be surprisingly straightforward.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's (MBIE) guide, 'Exemptions Guidance for Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004,' is your key to liberation from the complexities of building consents. This comprehensive document outlines exemptions for specific projects, making it easier for you to embark on your home improvement journey without unnecessary hurdles and paperwork.

As a property owner, it falls on you to discern whether your construction project requires a building consent or qualifies for an exemption. Seeking advice from a knowledgeable professional, like a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP), will help to provide clarity.

Keep reading below for examples of the type of work that may be "exempt" (but please note that strict adherence to the Building Code and relevant legislation is still crucial).

Planning Consent and Renovation

Windows and Doors in Existing Dwellings

Feel frustrated with outdated windows and doors or crave more natural light in dimly lit spaces? Good news – various enhancements to your exterior windows and doors can be made without a building consent. Generally, no consent is needed to replace existing exterior doors and windows, as Schedule 1 allows for such replacements, provided the original didn't fail prematurely.

Detached Single-Storey Buildings

Discover the freedom to construct a minor dwelling on your property, such as a garden shed, greenhouse, cabin, or sleepout, without the need for building consent. Specific limitations exist, and consulting with us will provide clarification. Single-storey detached buildings with a footprint of up to 30 square meters are permitted without consent, as long as they adhere to the specified parameters.



Looking to provide covered space for your car or boat? Small carports up to 40 square meters can be constructed without consent. However, carports that are between 20 and 40 square meters require review by a Chartered Professional Engineer for exemption. Licensed Building Practitioners overseeing design or construction can also grant exemption for carports up to 40 square meters.


Decks, Verandas, Porches, and Pergolas

Decks less than 1.5 meters above ground level are exempt, but safety barriers become mandatory to prevent falls from height of 1 meter or more. Specific exemptions exist for porches and verandas, with possibilities for extensions up to 20 square meters. Pergolas, while exempt from size limitations, must remain unroofed.

Consent Exemptions

In summary, these exemptions make it easier for you to do many home improvement projects. Prior to taking the plunge, we encourage you to engage in a thorough discussion of your ideas with our team. Keep in mind that considerations such as safety, adherence to the Building Code, and potential risks will play a pivotal role in determining the eligibility for an exemption.

Reach out to us today to schedule your complimentary building consultation and start bringing your project plans to life.


Faulkner Construction is one of the most decorated Registered Master Builders.


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