Building and Building Consents
about the building consent process
If you are planning to build a new building, make internal or external renovations to your home (or any other buildings on your property), relocate a building or demolish a building – you need to consider whether you’ll need a Building Consent.
What is a building consent?
A Building Consent is formal approval from Council, under the Building Act 2004, that allows you to carry out building work. The Council will issue a building consent only when it is satisfied that the proposed building work will meet the requirements of the Building Code.
A building consent is required for all building work, including plumbing and drainage, unless it has been listed as exempt by Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004. Click here for a guide to building work that does not need a building consent.
All building work must meet the minimum requirements of the building code even if no building consent is required.
A Project Information Memorandum (PIM) may also be requested as part of the Building Consent process. Click here for information on getting a PIM.
If you are still not sure whether you need a building consent please contact a Building Control Officer to discuss your plans.
Click here to contact a member of the Building Control Team.
Click here to Apply for a Building Consent
Unconsented building work
Applying for a Building Consent once the work is completed is not an option – a Building Consent cannot be issued at this time. If you don’t get a consent before the work starts, it is deemed as illegal and you could face fines or legal action.
When making alterations to a building there are requirements to consider to ensure compliance with section 112 of the Building Act 2004. These requirements are the provisions of the building code that relate to:
- Access and Facilities for Persons with Disabilities
- Means of Escape from Fire
Council must also be satisfied that the building will:
- if it complied with the other provisions of the building code prior to work beginning, continue to comply with those provisions; or
- if it did not comply with the other provisions of the building code prior to work beginning, continue to comply to at least the same extent as it did before
Change of Use, Extension of Life, or Subdivision of Buildings
If you are considering changing the use of a building, section 115 of the Building Act 2004 requires you to notify Council in writing.
We will consider the need for upgrade works in order to achieve compliance with the Building Code. These works will require a building consent.
If a building consent has been issued previously with a condition that the building must be altered on or before the end of the specified intended life, any alterations must be in accordance with the condition and must comply with the requirements of section 112 of the Building Act 2004 as stated above.
If you have applied for a subdivision under section 224 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), you may also require a building consent under section 116A of the Building Act 2004 which ensures that the building will comply with the building code, as near as is reasonably practicable, in respect to:
- Access and Facilities for Persons with Disabilities
- Means of Escape from Fire
- Protection from other Property
The Council must also be satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the building will continue to comply with the building code to at least the same extent as previously
Restricted Building Work
Restricted building work is work that’s critical to make a home structurally sound and weathertight. You must use Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) to design and carry out this work. LBPs must do or supervise this work.
Your choice of designer, builder or tradesperson is important as not all building practitioners are licensed.
Each LBP who works on your home must provide a Certificate of Design Work or Record of Building Work.
Contact a member of the Building Control Team to discuss your project or click here for more information on Restricted Building Work.
You can build, renovate or repair your own home using the Owner-Builder Exemption, but you still need to meet Building Code requirements and you will not need to be or use a licensed building practitioner (LBP) for any restricted building work on your home.
You are an owner-builder if you:
- live in or are going to live in the home (this includes a bach or holiday home)
- carry out the restricted building work to your own home yourself, or with the help of your unpaid friends and family members
- have not used the Owner-Builder Exemption to carry out restricted building work to any other home in the previous 3 years.
Contact a member of the Building Control Team to discuss your project or click here for more information on Owner-Builder Exemptions
Building on Land Subject to Natural Hazards
If you are thinking about carrying out building works it is important to consider the listed natural hazards that may affect how the project complies with the Building Act 2004 (section 71) and the New Zealand Building Code. Section 71(3) lists the hazards as:
•Erosion (including coastal erosion, bank erosion and sheet erosion);
•Falling debris (including soil, rock, snow and ice);
•Inundation (including flooding, overland flow, storm surge, tidal effects and ponding); and
A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) or Project Information Memorandum (PIM) will provide information about hazards that the Council knows about on your property. New building works or alterations should be designed with any of the listed natural hazards in mind. The Building Act 2004 requires Council to look closely at building consents for new buildings or major alterations to a building on land subject to a natural hazard. The Council can either refuse to grant the building consent in some circumstances or it can grant the consent subject to conditions under sections 72 and 73 of the Building Act 2004.The Council strongly recommends that you or your advisors discuss your proposals with one of our building control officers prior to lodging your building consent application.
Where a building consent is applied for on land that is subject to one or more of the above hazards and the Council considers that the building work itself will not accelerate, worsen, or result in erosion, subsidence, inundation etc., then the building consent can be issued subject to sections 72 and 73. When a building consent is issued subject to section 72, the Council must notify the Registrar-General of Land to arrange an endorsement on the Certificate of Title advising that the consent has been issued pursuant to section 72 of the Building Act 2004.
You are strongly advised to contact your solicitor, insurance company or the Earthquake Commission if you are purchasing a property in these areas or you are planning on doing any alterations or additions in the future.
If, at any time during the process, you have any concerns with how your application has been handled, processed, inspected or certified, please contact your Building Control Team in the first instance.
You can also contact the Council directly using the Enquiry, Complaint or Compliment form
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) also has a series of options for resolving problems, such as Determinations, Formal Complaints, and Mediation
Click here for more information on Resolving problems
Building Team Contacts
Click here to Meet the Team
How to apply for a building consent – new section added
Click here to find out about Applying for a building consent
Getting a PIM
Click here for information on Getting a PIM
Processing your building consent application
Click here to find out How your application is processed
Building Consent Fees
Click here to find out about Building Consent Fees
Click here to find out How building work is inspected
Code Compliance Certificate – new section added
Click here to find out How building work is certified
Compliance Schedules and Building Warrant of Fitness (BWOF)
Click here to find out about ComplianceSchedules and Building Warrant of Fitness (BWOF)
Reviewed by BCA, September 2018