Building and Building Consents

If you are planning to build a new building, or make internal or external renovationsto your home (or any other buildings on your property) – you need to consider whether you’ll need a Building Consent.

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 When a Building Consent is not needed.

New changes to Building Work from 1 March 2012 - have a look at the bottom of the page for more information.

Regardless of whether or not a building consent is required, all building work must comply with the Building Code.

If you are not sure whether you need a building consent the best idea is to ask a Council Building Control Officer. Click here to contact a member of the Building Control Team.

Click here to apply for a Building Consent.

What is a Building Consent?

A Building Consent is written approval from the Council to carry out building work as defined in the Building Act 2004.

The Council only grants a Building Consent when it is satisfied that the building work will comply with the Building Code.

It is the owner’s responsibility to get a building consent, and to get a Code of Compliance Certificate when the work is completed, even if the owner has an agent making the application.

If you are intending to build, the Council recommends that you employ established design and construction professionals. These professionals are aware of what is required to meet the Code.

A Building Consent is approval from the Council that your proposed project complies with the Building Code. A Building Consent allows you to start and carry out building work in accordance with the consent and associated plans and specifications.

Getting a Building Consent is only the first step – passing all scheduled inspections and getting a Code of Compliance Certificate completes the process.

When is a Building Consent needed?

A Building Consent is needed for most building, plumbinb and drainage work.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you non-structural work does not need consent, or that you can alter anything inside as long as the outer building is the same.

If you don’t think a consent is needed, please check Schedule 1 of the Building Act to make sure. Changes to Schedule 1 took effect on 23 December 2010. These changes remove the requirement for Building Consents for low risk and minor works. Work that is exempt under this initiative will still be required to meet Building Code requirements to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose.

Even though work may be exempt from requiring  building consent approval, work must still comply with the South Taranaki District Plan and resource consent approval should be obtained where necessary.

If you are still unsure, talk to our Building Control Team.

Illegal building work is just not worth it – it can result is either fines or legal action.

The following are some examples of work requiring a Building Consent:

  • Structural building including new buildings, additions, alterations,accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Demolition or relocation of existing structures
  • Heating (solid fuel fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Siteworks for a building
  • Retaining walls higher than 1.5m, or retaining walls with a building or driveway near the top
  • Fences higher than 2.5m and any swimming pool fence
  • Swimming pools and large tanks
  • Decks more than 1m from ground level
  • Tents and Marquees over 100 square feet (click here for more information)

What happens if I do building work without a consent when one is needed?

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.

How do I apply for a Building Consent?

Click here to apply for a Building Consent.

Please make sure your application form is filled in fully or it will be declined.

Please also make sure that your application is accompanied by fully detailed plans and specifications in order to make the building consent process as problem-free as possible. Drawing your own plans used to be an accepted way of doing things in New Zealand, but now it is recommended that you have a skilled person to help you for all but the most minor building work.

Details of the plans, specifications and other documents required to accompany a building consent application are set out in the Application Form and the Application Guide.

Compliance with the Building Code

Building Consent applicants must demonstrate their proposed building work will meet the performance requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.

The Council’s role is to assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether the documentation provided establishes that the relevant requirements of the Building Code have been met. As the regulator, the Council’s cannot provide advice on building design.

A design professional is assumed to have an understanding of the:

  • Building Act and New Zealand Building Code
  • Compliance Documents (Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods)
    Standards referred to in the Compliance Documents
  • Alternative Solutions

If you are not familiar with the above elements, the Council considers that you will save time and money by engaging a design professional.

New Changes to Restricted Building Work - 1 March 2012

An important change to the way we build our houses is the introduction of “Restricted Building Work” on 1  March 2012 - this is residential design and the construction work that is critical to the building and must therefore only be carried out or supervised by a recognised competent person – a Licensed Building Practitioner.
To find out more on how these changes will affect you as the building owner click on the link

Restricted Building Work seeks to do two things:
1. Ensure that the critical design and building work is carried out or supervised by competent persons
2. Ensure that those persons can be held to account if this work ends up being not up to standard.

If you are a designer and wish to gain a copy of the template (Certificate of Design Work) click on the below link

If you are a Licensed Building Practitioner and wish to gain a copy of the template (Record of Building Work) click on the below link

Useful Links

The Building Act

Home Building Guide (website)

Building Guide Project Workbook

See also

Information for Building Consent Applicants

Building Consent Application Guide

Building Consent Application Form

Building Consent Amendment

Reviewed by BCA, July 2014