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Work Affecting Other Land

From 2 April 2012, the Building Act 2011 requires a person who is proposing to do building work, demolition work or other activity that will affect adjoining land, also known as a notifiable event, to obtain consent from the neighbouring owners(s) before commencing work.  

Notifiable Events?

Under the Building Act, a consent (or court order) is only required when a ‘notifiable event’ is likely to occur due to any building work, demolition work or other activity that may affect adjoining land.

There are six notifiable events listed below that require a notice to be provided to adjoining owners and their consent given prior to commencing work.

  1. Encroachment being part of a building or an associated struture constructed or placed beyond the boundaries of the land on which work is being carried out.

2.   Adversely affecting other land includes:

  • reducing the stability or load bearing capacity of adjoining land or a building or structure on the land; or
  • damaging or reducing the structural adequacy of a building or structure on adjoining land; or
  • changing the natural site drainage in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drainage or affects buildings or structures on adjoining land;

    for notifiable events 1 and 2 above.  An exchange of letters or emails that meet the requirements of the Act in place of a BA20 is also acceptable. This consent or a court order must be attached to a building permit application or it will otherwise be refused.

3.   Placing a temporary or permanent protection structure beyond the boundaries of the land on which work
      is being carried out; or

4.   Building work affecting the structural, waterproofing or noise insulation capacity of a party wall, a
      substantial dividing fence, or a boundary retaining wall that protects adjoining land; or

5.   Removing a boundary structure such as fences or gates; or

6.   Building workers accessing adjoining land for work, conducting a survey in relation to the work or delivery
      of materials to the land on which work is being carried out without consent.

Complete the for events 3 to 6 above. 

If a notifiable event occurs whilst construction is underway, the person responsible for the work (usually the builder) must gain consent before the work continues.   

How to Obtain/Give Consent

The builder, owner or other worker proposing works on adjoining property must first give the affected owner an official Building Commission form BA20 or BA20A.  The owner has a 28 day period in which to give written consent. 

What if consent is refused?

If you do not give your consent, the person responsible for the work can seek a court order. If a court order is issued, both you as the adjoining owner and the person responsible for the work must adhere to the provisions of the court order.  If neither consent is given nor a court order issued, the work affecting other land cannot proceed.

What if the builder starts work prior to obtaining consent?

Local governments can enforce non compliance with these requirements. If consent is not obtained affected owners should contact their local government. A penalty of up to $25,000 applies under the Act.

Further information

A builder may attach to a building permit application a written statement that the permit authority may take into account for the purposes of satisfying itself that the application meets the requirements of section 20(1)(g) and (h) of the Building Act 2011 and regulation 16(3)(a) of the Building Regulations 2012.

The statement can be signed by:
  • a building practitioner registered under the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 section 17; or
  • a builder surveyor as defined in section 3 of the Act and regulation 5 of the Building Regulations 2012; or
  • an architect registered under the Architects Act 2004 section 29; or
  • a professional engineer as defined in Interpretation part of the Building Code (Part A1 of Volume One and Part 1.1 of Volume Two).

Setting out that the following will not occur in respect of the building or incidental structure which is the subject of the application:

  • part of the building or structure will be placed into, onto or over land beyond the boundaries of the work area; or
  • land beyond the boundaries of the work area will be adversely affected.

 Download the guide Work Affecting Other Land for further information.

Dividing Fences

If seeking to replace a damaged fence or seeking payment from neighbours for a new fence or repair to a fence, the Dividing Fences Act applies.

In some circumstances the work affecting other land requirements under the Building Act may also apply, e.g. where access to the neighbour’s land is required to repair or install a fence or retaining wall.