Homebuilding process set to become easier

The Government plans to make building a home simpler, faster and cheaper, by making it easier for minor changes to be made to building consents.

New regulations will be introduced to define minor customisation for multiproof certificates. Under the current rules, plans can't be changed once a multiproof certificate is issued; under the new system, minor customisations will be allowed. 

Examples of possible changes to a building consent include:

  • Replacing one brand of a product, such as plasterboard, with a comparable product from a different brand.   
  • Putting a window where a door was initially planned.   
  • Creating a mirror image of a room’s layout to maximise sunlight or to work in with a specific landscape.


Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk said these reforms would get Kiwis into homes faster.

“New construction data from Stats NZ released in April shows that it takes around 569 days on average for a home to be built after it receives a building consent. This means that, once you account for the time it takes to issue a consent, it takes nearly 600 days to build a house in New Zealand. In the face of a housing and cost-of-living crisis, this is simply too long,” he said.

“Unclear and inflexible regulations add unnecessary time and delays to the build process. Kiwis who need to swap out comparable building products in the event of a shortage must submit a completely new building consent or wait until that specific product becomes available, adding delays and costs onto the build. That is why the Government is clarifying the definition of a ‘minor variation’ and introducing ‘minor customisations’ to the Building Act. This will provide more flexibility, which will help reduce delays and lower the cost of building and renovating.” 

Minister Penk said Building Consent Authorities would still need to assess building work to ensure it complied with the Building Code – but new consents wouldn't be needed for minor modifications.

“This will also help increase competition for building products and give effect to the Commerce Commission’s recommendation from its market study into residential building supplies to remove impediments to product substitution and variations,” he said.

This reform comes after the Government recently:

  • Removed barriers for the use of overseas building products, by requiring councils to accept products that meet international standards that are the same as or higher than those in New Zealand.    
  • Exempted small building projects under $65,000 from paying the building levy.
  • Instructed councils to submit timeframes for building consents applications.


Need finance to build a home? As your mortgage adviser, I’m here to help. My strong recommendation is to contact me for a pre-approval before you sign any building contracts, so you can confirm your borrowing capacity.



Published: 21/5/2024