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DIY, but build it right


You can be part of New Zealand’s long established “DIY” (do-it-yourself) building tradition, so long as you meet the Building Code requirements and get the right consents and permissions.

Traditionally an owner-builder doing DIY is a person (individual) who does building work on their own home or holiday home. Often this work is done over a period of many years, incrementally, whether they are building from scratch or making extensions or alterations to an existing house. Suitably skilled owner builders do critical and complex work themselves. Those who are less skilled often hire builders to assist them to do the complex work (including hiring a designer to prepare plans).

If you are an DIY owner-builder, you can carry out most building work on your home (including holiday home) provided you:

  • meet the requirements of the Building Code
  • obtain any necessary building consent or permits before starting work.

Your building consent is confirmation that, if built to the approved plans, the building will meet all requirements and be safe and healthy. It includes, as a requirement, a series of inspections during the process and final sign-off.

REMEMBER – for framing, you can’t go past the cost savings and numerous other benefits of using Steel Framing in your DIY project

An owner-builder can also do DIY work classified as restricted building work. This is work that is critical to the structure or durability of a building. As with other work, you need to work to the Building Code and obtain any necessary building consent from your council. You need to apply for an owner-builder exemption at the same time.

If you are hiring somebody to do or supervise restricted building work they need to be a licensed building practitioner.

There is some specialist work that you cannot do with DIY projects and will need to hire a professional:

  • plumbing
  • gasfitting
  • drainlaying
  • electrical work.

Minor renovation work like painting or building a low deck is exempt from the need to get a building consent.

Usually, DIY building work done by owner-builders according to the building consent process meets the requirements of the Building Code. This may be because owner-builders recognise the limits of their skills and get professionals to help when needed. They might also have an incentive to do quality work, as they are doing it for themselves.

More valuable information at the source of this article.

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