Timely professional advise protects home buyers

Jonno Ingerson, QV.co.nz Research Director said “the relatively strong increase in nationwide values can be attributed primarily to an increase in the main centres, particularly Auckland and Christchurch. ”First home buyers are also active, spurred by low mortgage interest rates. This is starting to encourage property investors and small developers back into the market, although investors are now careful to ensure their purchases return a decent yield rather than relying on capital gain. There has also been an increase in activity in the middle to upper range of the market which can possibly be attributed to people coming back into the market after having held off for several years” said Ingerson.

Building consents have gone up from just over 3000 residential building consents in Auckland to just around 4000 consents in the last 12 months. The forecast is that it will peak to about 7000 consents in 2014 which would be similar to the pre recession boom. In short, if you are thinking about developing your property, get started right away. Adding a granny flat or a couple of bedrooms, enclosing a deck, upgrading your insulation and double glazing your windows are some of the things you could consider to make it more liveable now and saleable in future.

Once you have some thoughts in this regard, please contact your local council or a licensed architectural designer and check whether you need a building consent for what you intend to do. Before you embark on your project, you should be aware of 2 acronyms – RBW and LBP.

Some of the renovation work could be done without a consent. However if it needs a consent, in most of the cases, it is classified as Restricted building work (RBW). This has come into affect from 1 March 2012 and applies to residential design and building work. This sort of work is complex, needs to be done right and should be done by a competent person. Hence all restricted building work will have to be carried out or supervised by a licensed building practitioner (LBP). If a designer is not an LBP, they can’t lodge a building consent for you. Similarly council inspectors will not sign off any work that was not done or supervised by a LBP tradesmen.

The New Zealand Government has implemented these changes to help improve the quality of building in New Zealand and to increase the accountability and ongoing professional development of the building industry. Restricted Building Work is work which is critical to the integrity of a building. It makes sure the building is structurally sound, weathertight and supervised by professionals who are Licensed Building Practitioners. Having Restricted Building Work regulations makes sure that your family home, often a New Zealander’s biggest asset, is protected.

The purpose of RBW seeks to ensure two things. The first is to ensure that the critical design and building work is carried out or supervised by competent persons (LBPs) and to ensure there is accountability if the RBW that has been designed, carried out or supervised does not meet required standards

The professionals who need to be LBP include Architectural Designers, Carpenters, Roofers, External Plasterers, Brick and Blocklayers and Foundation specialists. You can search for a licensed professional by searching the register on their professional association’s website or on the Department of Building and Housing’s Licensed Building Practitioner register.

So please ensure that the person giving you professional advice is a LBP and check his details on the register before you sign any agreement with them. Get going now to be able to start renovating or building this summer.

Bobby Banerjee is Director of Tarzan Design Ltd and a professional member of the Architectural designers of New Zealand. He is a Licensed Building Practitioner. Phone (09) 8360576 Website: www.tarzandesign.co.nz

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