To avoid any legal comeback, check to see if your DIY jobs are compliant with NZ regulations, specifically related to plumbing, electrical work, smoke alarms, gas, trade rules, consents and code of compliance. We also include DIY safety advice.
IMPACT OF DIY REPAIRS OR WORSE, NONE AT ALL
DIY repairs and maintenance can cost more than what you were trying to save in the first place so use the advice below to get your property compliant and legal. Your life, house or contents insurances may depend on it.
Building compliance matters can turn into legal nightmares if pushed on the back-burner or shoddy DIY work has been done, either by you or the previous home owner.
Non-disclosure of issues relating to the integrity of a building can result in legal action against you, or your real estate agent if doing unconsented DIY repairs and maintenance before selling a house.
If you're considering purchasing a house and want assurance about it's integrity, we have collated important advice and legal documents all related to buying a house that protect you.
Health Housing - He Kainga Oranga, a Government initiative implemented a Rental Housing Warrant of Fitness in August 2017.
Use their WOF test on your property if it's tenanted, if you intend selling or just for peace of mind.
What are the DIY trade guidelines in NZ?
DIY and Building Industry Trade Rules, Regulations and Restrictions - the legal lowdown:
- Consumer NZ provides advice about working safely with electricity, at heights, with lead, asbestos, gas or plumbing.
- For larger renovations or improvements, the MBIE Building Guide provides comprehensive information about regulations, building consent and amendments to these, resource consents, PIMS and choosing a builder.
- The Electrical Workers Board, Master Plumbers, Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Boards all have solid advice around DIY and what you can't do!
Check if you need a licensed tradesperson
There are certain jobs where DIY work in New Zealand is illegal and you will require a licensed tradesperson.
This lists the trade industry bodies that provide the safest way to find a licensed trades people for whatever work you need done.
Consumer NZ reports on multi boxes that have been recalled due to fire risk. Check whether you have one in your house.
- Electrical repairs and maintenance are not for the faint-hearted. The NZ Electrical Workers Registration Board advise not to do your own electrical work due to the issues and safety risks.
Get the latest from Consumer NZ on smoke alarms and what they recommend.
Safety issues with DIY electrical work
Although produced for the electrical tradespeople, the Electrical Workers Registration Board reports common issues with electrical work.
If you've done DIY electrical work, get a licensed sparky to check it and get it signed it off as compliant when it is.
DIY Plumbing Restrictions in NZ
The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board states that under the PGD Act 2006, the following is not restricted work
- Fixing or unfixing, a dishwasher or washing machine
- Repairing or replacing taps, tap washers or plugs, ball valves such as float valves and ball cocks in toilet cisterns
- The work of fixing or unfixing a shower over a bath that is supplied with the water through the bath taps such as those that have a push on rubber connection on the outlet of the bath taps.
However, if the above circumstances involve fixing or unfixing waste pipes or water supply pipes then it becomes restricted work and an authorised plumber will need to be engaged to do the work.
Home owners can also work on a water reticulation system when there are no sanitary fixtures or appliances attached.
The easy way to know when you need a licensed plumber
Master Plumbers states that It's vital for homeowners, DIYers in particular, to understand that legislation requires a licensed plumber to complete all sanitary plumbing work.
The golden rule is that any work that involves sanitary plumbing or potable water supply must be carried out by a licensed plumber.
Call a professional tradesman if you experience any of the following:
- Sewerage smells
- Blocked or overflowing drains
- No hot water
- Low water pressure throughout your home
- Extremely hot water
- Ceiling leaks or a soggy patch on a wall
- Burst pipes or frozen pipes
- Seriously leaky or overflowing guttering
- Gas smells or faulty gas appliances.
Prioritise compliance if selling a house
Skipping compliance can be very expensive, legally messy and can result in a real estate sale falling over if your property has a DIY job that's non-compliant.
If you have done a substandard job, not met your council's code of compliance or do not comply with trade regulations, these can come back to haunt you and often just when you think you have closed the sale.
Building inspections are most often a condition of sale for a purchaser, as is getting insurance which has become harder to get since the Christchurch and Wellington earthquakes.
The consequences of non-compliance or shoddy DIY work are plentiful and never good. If you want to sell your house and need more advice about sorting your code of compliance or want to know more about the process, ask us for help here - it's a free service.
You might also like:
- One stop shop for everything about selling property
- Hidden costs of not selling first time around
- Sale and Purchase - the fine print - before you sign
Article Updated 3 April 2020