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What is a building consent

A building consent authority must grant a building consent if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code would be met if the building work were properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications that accompanied the application.

What is a building consent?

A building consent is a formal approval granted by your local council under the Building Act that allows a person to carry out building work. Building work includes work in connection with the construction, alteration, demolition or removal of a building. A council will issue a building consent only when it is satisfied the proposed building work will meet the requirements of the Building Code.

You cannot carry out any building work unless you have a building consent. There are a few minor exceptions to this set out in Schedule 1 of the Building Act.

All building work must meet the minimum requirements of the Building Code even if no building consent is required.

You should also check if a resource consent is required.

When a building consent is required

The list below is a summary of building work that will need a consent, but you need to check with council to be sure:

  • new buildings
  • structural building - additions, alterations, re-piling, some demolitions
  • plumbing and drainage where additional sanitary fixture is created (some repair and maintenance may be exempt)
  • relocating a building
  • installing a woodburner or air-conditioning system
  • retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres (3.0 metres in rural area if designed by a chartered professional engineer)
  • fences or walls higher than 2.5 metres, and all swimming pools and their associated fences decks, platforms or bridges more than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • sheds greater than 10 square metres in floor area
  • some earthworks

If your project requires a building consent, it must be obtained before any of the work starts, so please make sure that you start the application process well before building is due to start.

When a building consent is not required

The Building Act 2004 Schedule 1 details the type of work that does not require a building consent.  For more information see building work exempt from building consent.

If you are unsure whether you will need a building consent or not, please contact the Customer Services Centre on 03 546 0200.

Process at a glance

Step 1: Plans and ideas prepared

Step 2: Project Information Memorandum (PIM) applied for and issued

Step 3: Detailed plans and specifications prepared

Step 4: Building consent applied for and deposit or full fee is paid

Step 5: Plans and specifications checked for compliance, also known as processing the application (Council may request further information during this step).  Council has 20 working days to decide to grant or refuse the consent.

Step 6: Building consent granted, and any outstanding fees and charges are invoiced

Step 7: Invoice is paid, and approved consent documents are issued

Step 8: Building work begins (building consents lapse if work does not begin within 12 months)

Step 9: Inspections during building process

Step 10: Apply for code compliance certificate (CCC)

Other useful information

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