A building consent is approval to carry out building work. It is a legal document that confirms the proposed building work complies with the Building Code and therefore meets the safety standards set out in the Building Act 2004. You must check whether you need a building consent before work starts.
Most building work requires consent. Here are some examples:
|Additions or alterations to your house||Install a solid fuel heater or fireplace||Fences higher than 2.5m and pool barriers|
|Build a deck||Relocation of existing structures||Commercial Ventilation and air-conditioning systems|
|Build a garage||Re-piling||Change of use of a building|
|Build a house||Accessory buildings (sheds, granny flats etc).||New plumbing or drainage works eg. additional toilet|
|Build a retaining wall over 1.5m|
There are some works that don't require a building consent.
Council will process your building consent as quickly as possible. The processing time will depend on the number of applications we have at the time and the complexity of your project. We always look to ensure all applications are processed within the required 20 working days so this should be the longest you need to wait.
Making sure you provide all required information when you apply for building consent helps us process your application quickly.
If we require you to provide additional information to process your application, the processing time is suspended until all the requested information is received and correct.
Once a building consent has been issued, work must begin within 12 months and adhere to the approved building plans. If work is not started before 12 months the building consent will lapse and becomes null and void, and you must reapply for a new building consent. If you don't think you are going to be able to start work before 12 months you can apply to the Building Services Manager for an extension of time. If an extension is granted fees apply as per our fees and charges.
Council must make a decision to issue a Code Compliance Certificate after 2 years from the date issued. This decision does not prevent you from completing the work and council revising that decision at a later date.
You can apply online or in person. For Council to receive your building consent application you must have completed the correct application form, pay the appropriate application fees, if hardcopy provide 2 sets of plans/specifications/site plan/proof of ownership and any other supporting documents.
The fees you have to pay for your building consent will depend on the type of application, value of work involved and the level of detail provided. .
Fixed fees are available for the following consent applications:
- Marquees (maximum of 3 marquees per application)
- Heating appliances
- Solar hot water heater (stand-alone)
Fees are invoiced when you apply for a building consent. A cancellation fee may apply if you withdraw your application.
The Building Act 2004 requires that the building work being undertaken must comply with the issued building consent. This means that any significant changes from the approved building consent must be officially recorded. To apply for an amendment you must complete an Amended Building Consent application form, pay the amendment application fee and supply plans detailing changes you would like to make.
Code Compliance Certificate
Inspections are required throughout the construction process in order to secure a final Code Compliance Certificate (CCC). You should request a final inspection once all work has been completed. Once you have passed your final inspection the Building Act 2004 requires you to apply for CCC to be issued and supply any associated paperwork e.g. electrical certificate. A CCC application form is supplied with your approved building consent documents. The Code Compliance Certificate is evidence the work has been carried out in accordance with the approved plans and meets the requirements of the Building Code 2004.
A compliance schedule is required if you are constructing a commercial building with specified systems and a Building Warrant of Fitness. It lists the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for systems within a building such as lifts, automatic sprinklers, automatic doors, air conditioning and fire alarms.
Restricted building work
Restricted building work is design or construction work that is critical to the integrity of a building. Only licensed building practitioners are allowed to carry out or supervise restricted building work.
Restricted building work includes the design and construction of – or alteration(s) to a house or small to medium sized apartment building.
- Primary structure (e.g. foundations and framing) – to make sure the building can withstand vertical and horizontal loads
- External envelope (e.g. roofing and cladding) to make sure the building is water tight
- Fire-Safety systems (e.g. sprinklers and fire alarms) to make sure people are adequately protected from the dangers of smoke and fire
Consents for restricted building work
If your building consent involves restricted building work, the building owner needs to advise the Council of the name(s) and registration number(s) of the Licensed Building Practitioner(s).
Owner-builder exemption for restricted building work
Owner-builders can carry out restricted building work on their own home.
Certificate of Public Use
A Certificate of Public Use allows commercial premises to be used by the public during building work.
Certificate of Acceptance
A Certificate of Acceptance provides limited assurance in certain situations that Council has inspected unconsented building work, and is satisfied the work complies with the Building Code. A Certificate of Acceptance may not be the solution you are looking for when work has been done without a building consent, as it is not a Code Compliance Certificate.
- Building work has been done without first getting a building consent when it was required
- A building consent authority is unable, or refuses to issue a code compliance certificate where a private building consent authority or certifier could not issue a Code Compliance Certificate.
A Certificate of Acceptance must be applied for when work has been done urgently under section 42 of the Building
A Certificate of Acceptance cannot be issued:
- for work carried out before 1 July 1992
- when a building consent has already been given to carry out the work – except when a certifier of private building consent authority is unable to or refuses to issue a Code Compliance Certificate
Council will not issue a Certificate of Acceptance unless it is able to either inspect or assess the building work or methods of construction, and is satisfied that the work complies with the Building Code.
The applicant is responsible for demonstrating that the work complies with the Building Code. To do this, you may need to provide evidence (usually from a professional). This is particularly important for those parts of the building work that the Council cannot inspect, such as foundations.
If the information provided with your Certificate of Acceptance application is insufficient or does not demonstrate compliance with the Building Code, the Council will refuse to issue a certificate.
A result of a Certificate of Acceptance application may be that building work that does not comply with the Building Code must be removed. You may also be required to get a building consent to carry out further work to ensure that the building complies with the Building Code.
A Certificate of Acceptance can be limited by the Council to certain parts of the work identified in the application.
The Certificate of Acceptance will list the building work the Council has inspected or not inspected. Any building work that cannot be verified as complying with the Building Code will be listed on the certificate as exclusions. The Council may also refuse to issue a Certificate of Acceptance if compliance with the Building Code cannot be demonstrated.
A building consent cannot be issued retrospectively for building work that has already been completed, and a Code Compliance Certificate cannot be issued for any building work subject to a Certificate of Acceptance.
Our advice is to always check whether you require a building consent and if so to always get a building consent before work begins.
Complete a Certificate of Acceptance application form and lodge it at Council. You will need to provide all documentation that would be required for a building consent application, plus the following additional information:
- Proof of date of construction, such as signed / dated building contract payments
- Supporting evidence that work closed in and not able to be inspected compiles with the current Building Code. This could include but is not limited to:
- Application fee
- Relevant certification
- Architectural drawings
- PS4 from supervising engineers (if applicable)
- Expert opinion reports
- Statement of urgency – a letter providing the reason for work done under urgency, see section 42 of the Building Act 2004 (if applicable)
A producer statement is a professional opinion based on sound judgment and specialist expertise. It is not a product warranty or guarantee of compliance.
Alterations to existing buildings
The building consent can only be granted where the building consent authority/territorial authority is satisfied that the building will:
- comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable with the Building Code provisions for means of escape from fire and access and facilities for people with disabilities (if required)
- continue to comply with the other provisions of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the alteration.
Building consent authorities are allowed to grant a building consent for the alteration of an existing building.
The Act clarifies that if part of a building is altered, the upgrade provisions are triggered for the whole building.
For more information, please refer to publications on the MBIE website
Referal to Fire and Emergency New Zealand Design Review Unit
The building consent authority must forward certain applications, which have been specified by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in a Gazette notice, upon receipt to the New Zealand Fire Service Commission.
The New Zealand Fire Service Commission may provide the building consent authority, within 10 working days, with a memorandum in the building consent application advising on the provisions for means of escape from fire and the need for people authorised by law to enter the building for firefighting.
The New Zealand Fire Service Commission must not give advice in the memorandum that requires the building to meet performance criteria that exceed the requirements of the Building Code. If the New Zealand Fire Service Commission does not provide the memorandum within 10 working days, the building consent authority may proceed to determine the application without it.
Building over two or more allotments
It often occurs that a property owner wishes to construct a building over two or more neighbouring allotments.
The Building Act 2004 does not allow building work to be undertaken over two or more allotments unless they are
both held in fee simple by the same owner and:
- The allotments are amalgamated through the Registrar-General of Land, or
- A section 75 notice, stating that one or more of the allotments cannot be transferred or leased except in
conjunction with the other/s of those allotments, is registered on the title/s through the Registrar-General
of Land, or
- The building work is constructed with a party wall along the appropriate boundary/s.
Building consent cannot be issued until one of the above options has been addressed.
A determination is a legally binding ruling made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) about matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. They are not for civil disputes or disputes about workmanship. Most determinations are applied for by building owners, but councils and other people can sometimes apply.
Find out more on the MBIE website