Thinking about doing up your house?

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Photo: Southland Express files

IF you’re looking at renovating your house, you should be aware a building consent may be needed for more work than you think.

Replacing your bathroom with “like-for-like” is not as simple as that, as many people don’t realise a building consent is required for wet rooms and tiled showers. Although you may be happy with unconsented work, it may end up costing you thousands of dollars when it comes time to sell your property.

New Zealanders have always had a do-it-yourself (DIY) mentality when it comes to renovating their own homes. DIY has become increasingly popular due to the current buoyant property market and, of course, TV shows which encourage renovation.

When planning the renovations, one of the last things people turn their minds to is the need for building consents, but we believe it should be one of the first.

Building consents

The building consent process ensures the job is done in line with industry standards, meaning the work is safe. It also minimises the risk of future issues.

For proposed building work that’s straightforward, the building consent process is a simple one, and it’s something your local council staff member will be happy to talk you through.

While the Building Act 2004 provides a list of work not requiring a building consent, it’s always best to check with your local council. Under the act, a building consent is not required when an authorised person (such as a registered plumber or drain layer) uses a comparable component in the same position as the old unit.

on’t realise is that this does not extend to replacing a shower tray and liner with a tiled “wet area”. This is partly because of the significant water-proofing needed to ensure there are no future water issues.

What is the risk?

Dealing with any wet areas is always a concern, as problems may only become evident when it’s too late. Even if there are no problems with work carried out without a building consent, there may be issues when it comes to selling your property.

We have seen house sales fall through, or the purchase price decreased at the very least, because of the lack of building consents.

The standard Agreement for Sale and Purchase provides a warranty by the vendor that, where the vendor has done, or caused or permitted work to be done on the property, those works:

– Had a permit , resource, or building consent.

– To the vendor’s knowledge were completed in compliance with those permits or consents

– Where appropriate, a code of compliance certificate was issued

If you give these warranties but it turns out that you didn’t obtain a building consent for work, such as the installation of a tiled shower, then you could open yourself up to claims from the purchaser, and it may cost you a lot of money to remedy.

It’s best to find out whether you need a building consent before you start the work, and not when it comes time to sell.

If you think it’s too late already, we recommend at least applying to your local council for a certificate of acceptance, which can be issued for work done without a building consent.

Spending an extra few hundred dollars following the right process now may end up saving you a lot more money and time in the future.

If you have any questions regarding consents when selling or buying a home, talk to us as soon as possible.

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