Owner's Responsibilities and Liabilities
The Building Act 2004 has shifted the responsibility for obtaining a building consent from equal sharing between the owner and his builder/contractor/subcontractor, etc, to total responsibility of the owner.
Not only is the owner now deemed liable for applying for a building consent, but he/she is also deemed to be totally responsible to ensure that work complies with the relevant Approved Documents in the Building Code. Council will advise the owner of any breaches and it is the owner's duty to ensure that these breaches are rectified.
Any person who does, or allows any person to do, building work contrary to the Act could be liable to a fine of up to $200,000.
It is the Owner's Responsibility to:
- Notify the Council of any proposed building or alteration work.
- Notify the Council of a change of use.
- Apply for a Building Consent and provide the necessary information to confirm compliance with the New Zealand Building Code.
- Ensure that inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures are carried out where required.
- Notify the Council on completion of building work.
Agents of the Owner
Owners will often engage specialists for all or part of the proposed work.
These specialists include such people as architects, engineers, builders, plumbers, electricians, etc. The owner can nominate any of those specialists as his Agent. Council then deals with that person in the event of any queries or problems.
In the event of a breach of the Act the owner is still likely to bear the full liability for those breaches. However, this does not absolve the nominated agent of the owner from any liability should that person breach the Act.
Tenants and the Owner
The building owner is responsible for ensuring that safe and sanitary conditions are maintained, whether or not the building is tenanted by others.