Qualified or licensed builders are needed to supervise work on construction sites where Bunnings' new flat-pack homes are rising and, despite being sold by a national retail chain, the products are no DIY dream.

The business announced last week it had launched the Clever Living Co brand, selling flat-pack homes from around $69,000 plus GST, a price which does not include land, the cost of putting up the home, connections to services or council fees.

A Bunnings New Zealand chief emphasised that the products were being sold via the Bunnings Trade outlets and not the retail stores - including warehouses and smaller-format stores.

Des Bickerton, Bunnings commercial manager, said: "The Clever Living Co homes range is aimed at trade customers as they can only be built through a licensed building practitioner as required by the Building Code."


"LBPs are building practitioners who have been assessed as competent to carry out building work essential to the structure or weathertightness of residential buildings," according to information on the state-run scheme.

"All LBPs must complete a set of skills maintenance activities every two years. You need to show that you've done these before you can renew your licence," the state scheme says.

Skills maintenance combines both compulsory and elective activities. You get the important regulatory and technical information you need through completing compulsory activities. You also need to complete elective activities that are relevant to the work you do.

"We work with a number of licenced building practitioners across New Zealand. Customers can also purchase homes, however they need to find a registered builder or our team are more than happy to introduce them to one of the licenced building practitioners who build our homes," Bickerton said.

The LBP scheme was introduced by the Building Act 2004, partly in response to New Zealand's leaky building crisis. The scheme began operating in November 2007, aiming to protect consumers, lift builder competency and make builders more accountable for their work.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is now consulting on updating the LBP regime. More information is here.

"MBIE is proposing major changes to New Zealand's building laws. These changes propose to strengthen and modernise our building laws, so all New Zealanders can have confidence in our built environment. The proposed changes are the most significant reforms since the current Building Act was introduced in 2004.

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Watch: Inside Auckland's first Bunnings $91k flatpack home, national retail chain aims to disrupt traditional construction methods

When the Herald visited an almost-complete flat-pack home in Onehunga on Friday, two builders were on site: supervisor Matt Cross and Tristin Hapelt of Trent Building Solutions, which works in Auckland and Christchurch.


The flat pack sold for $91,000 plus GST but this price did not include the site, council fees, builders' costs, services connection or development or reserve contribution.

These fees add tens of thousands of dollars to the finished price.

Trent erected the two-bedroom 82sq m stand-alone home off Trafalgar St in just over three months.

The north-facing weatherboard house is the Suffolk design and measures 11.4m long by 7.5m wide, has a separate laundry with walk-in linen storage cupboard, audio speakers in light bulbs, security camera system installed within outdoor lights and bathroom with separate bath and shower.

• LBP register here