The MBIE has just circulated an email amongst all LBPs: 


More exempt building work for Licensed Building Practitioners

There are new exemptions that utilise the Licensed Builder Practitioners (LBP) scheme, which recognises the competence of these building practitioners, and allows them to join chartered professional engineers and certifying plumbers in having their own suite of exemptions.

The Building Consent exemptions that are available only when an LBP to carries out or supervises the design and construction are as follows:

  • Single-storey detached buildings (e.g. sleep outs, sheds and greenhouses) with a maximum floor area of 30 square metres 
  • Carports with a maximum floor area of 40 square metres
  • Ground floor awnings up to 30 square metres
  • Ground floor verandas and porches up to 30 square metres
  • Single-storey pole sheds and hay barns in rural zones

We will let you know when this exempt building work can begin. The new exemptions are expected to commence later this year.


That means essentially, that you would not need a building consent any more for a tiny home up to 30sqm. Provided it is built by a Licensed Building Practitioner and therefor complies with the building code. You may still be subject to a rates incresase by your local council as they will consider any structure that is permanently occupied as a dwelling especially if it has any sort of food preperation area such as a kitchen bench with sink.


 To further clarify, here's an exerpt from the MBIE website: 


"Is it a vehicle?

Section 8 of the Building Act considers the meaning of a building. Section 8(1)(b)(iii) states a building includes "a vehicle or motor vehicle (including a vehicle or motor vehicle as defined in section 2(1) of the Land Transport Act 1998) that is immovable and is occupied by people on a permanent or long-term basis."

'Vehicle' and 'motor vehicle' are not defined in the Building Act. To establish whether something is a vehicle, the following definitions should be considered:

  • the dictionary definition (natural and ordinary) meaning:
    • a thing with a primary purpose of transporting people or goods
    • powered by some form of combustion or self-propulsion.
  • 'vehicle' or 'motor vehicle' as defined in section 2(1) of Land Transport Act 1998:
    • Vehicle – (a) means a contrivance equipped with wheels, tracks, or revolving runners on which it moves or is moved...
    • Motor vehicle – (a) means a vehicle drawn or propelled by mechanical power, and (b) includes a trailer...
    (Note: this is not an extensive list of Land Transport Act definitions)

Just because a structure has some vehicle-like features, such as wheels, doesn’t necessarily make it a vehicle under the Building Act. The distinction between a building that is movable, and a vehicle, is that a vehicle is used for transporting people or goods, or must be powered by some form of combustion or self-propelled.

Recent determinations have considered whether the following structures were vehicles or buildings:

  • a shepherd's hut with wheels and tow bar
  • a shed registered as a trailer under the Land Transport Act
  • a structure with wheels
  • a structure previously fitted with wheels.

The determinations found the structures had some features of vehicles, such as wheels, and could be moved on-site, but had very few other characteristics in common with vehicles (eg suspension, chassis, brakes, lights). The structures weren’t used for transporting people or goods, and weren't road vehicles powered by internal combustion engines or self-propelled. Generally, there was no evidence of the structures being used as vehicles.

Is it a building?

If a structure isn't a vehicle, the test for whether it is a building falls within the general definition of a building set out in section 8(1)(a) of the Act. Under this definition, "building" means "a temporary or permanent moveable or immovable structure..."

The examples above were all considered to be moveable structures, and not vehicles. This means they were buildings under the Building Act, and needed to comply with the requirements of the Act and Building Code.

When is a vehicle also a building? 

If a structure is a vehicle, it can still be considered a building under the Building Act if it is "immovable" and "occupied by people on a permanent or long-term basis."

Caravans or mobile homes are vehicles used as accommodation. However, they are clearly designed to move on roads and are generally moved from site to site. A vehicle such as a caravan or mobile home would only be considered a building if it were both immovable and occupied permanently or on a long-term basis.

If the structure doesn't meet both of these criteria, it will not be a building as set out in section 8(1)(b)(iii). Determination 2016/011 outlines the criteria to consider whether a vehicle is immovable.

Relevant determinations:


Hope that helps.