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MBIE Building Consent System Review - Overview and Update

04 Apr 2024


In July 2022, MBIE commenced a review of the building consent system, as part of the Building System Reforms to improve the consenting process. The focus, to modernise the system to support the construction of quality buildings - done right the first time, well-made, healthy, durable, and safe. The review also supports the Government’s goals to create a streamlined building consent system, and support innovation in the building and construction sector.

The review also responds to the Commerce Commission’s recommendations from its market study into residential building supplies – to both promote competition and to remove impediments to product substitution and variations. Consultation has been conducted in two stages, with submissions sought on an issues discussion document followed by an options paper consultation.

Stage One: Issues Discussion Document

MBIE released an issues discussion document for public consultation in July 2022. Submissions were received from building consent authorities, building control officers and contractors, industry organisations, builders, engineers, architects, tradespeople, and homeowners. Feedback from stakeholders confirmed that the building consent system is broadly resulting in buildings that are healthy, safe and durable, but there are opportunities to improve the system.

Submitters confirmed four key desirable outcomes that the building consent system should primarily seek to achieve:

  • roles and responsibilities are clear, appropriate, and understood.
  • system is efficient.
  • system is responsive to change and continuously improves.
  • regulatory requirements and decisions are robust, predictable, transparent, and understood.

MBIE released a detailed summary of the submissions in December 2022:

Review of the Building Consent System PDF (Dec 2022)

Stage Two: Options Paper Consultation

MBIE released the options paper for public consultation in June 2023 with submissions closing in August 2023. This consultation focused on potential options for improvement to the building consent system.

The options paper sought feedback in the following areas and where policy work was underway:

  • strengthening roles and responsibilities
  • new assurance pathways
  • better delivery of building consent services
  • better performance monitoring and system stewardship
  • better responding to the needs and aspirations of Māori.

The options paper also included options to address the following recommendations from the Commerce Commission's market study into residential building supplies:

  • promoting competition in the building regulatory system
  • removing impediments to product substitution and variations.

Overall feedback indicated that the system is not fundamentally broken, but there are opportunities for substantial improvement. This aligns with the Government’s intention to address long standing issues within the consenting process.

Notably Architects and Designers comprised the largest group of submitters (61 out of 270)

MBIE released a detailed summary of the submissions late February 2024:

Review of the Building Consent System PDF (Feb 2024)

Next moves

MBIE have indicated that they will be considering and using the feedback received to provide advice to the Government on streamlining the consenting system and improving the building system as a whole. We highly recommend that Architects and Designers have a good read of the submissions taking note of MBIE’s preferred options, the feedback from others in the industry and being aware of the potential changes to current roles and responsibilities.