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Restricted Building Work

RBW is work that’s critical to making a home structurally sound, weathertight and fire-safe. You must use Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) to help design, carry out and supervise this work. LBPs are registered and keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date at all times.

Why restricted building work (RBW) is important

Restricted building work (RBW) is work that is critical to the integrity of a building. It must be done properly to ensure the building is structurally sound and weathertight.

Restricted building work can only be done or supervised by tradespeople who have proven they are properly skilled – licensed building practitioners (LBPs).

It is an offence for an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise RBW. It is also an offence to knowingly engage an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise restricted building work.

How to identify restricted building work (RBW)

RBW is everything that involves or affects the:

  • Outside of the building, which has an influence on weathertightness. This includes anything that prevents the entry of outside moisture and helps control moisture inside the building fabric. For example:
    1. damp-proofing your floor area, on and underneath floors
    2. roof and wall cladding systems (windows, ventilators, openings and penetrations etc.)
    3. waterproofing anything that is exposed to airborne moisture or can allow moisture to enter the building, such as a balcony.

 Design of fire safety systems. This work involves elements intended to protect people and property from fire. For example:

    1. an adjacent household unit in an apartment building is at risk if one catches fire
    2. automatic doors and windows
    3. escape routes

What is NOT restricted building work (RBW)

If it doesn’t need a building consent, it’s not restricted building work.

If it doesn’t involve work to the home’s primary structure, weathertightness or design of fire safety systems, then it’s not restricted building work. For example:

    1. Fitting new sanitary fixtures where there weren't any before (new kitchen, ensuite etc.)
    2. Installing a wood burner
    3. Domestic wind turbine
    4. Domestic swimming pool and pool fence
    5. Installing a cable car to a home
    6. Installing other specified systems in small/medium apartments (smoke alarms, lift, heating, ventilation and air conditioning - HVAC - system etc.)
    7. Installing insulation to external walls in a home

Your responsibilities

Most building plans that need building consent from your council will include restricted building work (RBW) – but not all.

If it doesn’t involve work to the home’s primary structure, weather-tightness or design of fire safety systems, it’s not restricted building work.

You need to think about RBW as soon as you start thinking about getting the work done. If you are hiring a designer, be sure to hire someone who can do RBW.

Your designer must be an LBP, registered architect or chartered professional engineer (they are treated as LBPs for design services) to do restricted building work.

When the work is RBW you need to:

  • employ licensed building practitioners (LBPs) to do or supervise the work
    1. Designers (registered architects and chartered professional engineers can also do Design RBW)
    2. Carpenters
    3. Roofers
    4. Brick and blocklayers
    5. External plasterers
    6. Foundation specialists
  • stipulate who the LBP is in your building consent application to the council. If you don’t have this information when you send in your application, you must let the council know before RBW starts
  • tell the council if you replace the LBP
  • make sure the LBP gives you a completed ‘record of building work’ when they’ve finished their part of the job
  • provide a copy to the council as part of your code compliance certificate (CCC) application.
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