Getting a Building Consent

When to get a Building Consent

You need to get a building consent before doing almost any building work.

You can apply yourself, but your application must comply with the Building Code and you must provide all the necessary documentation – and there’s a lot!

However, your architect/designer or builder can do this on your behalf, and they’ve probably put a few applications in which will mean they know all the items needed (but not always – it can pay to check as if there are items missing, the application will be returned and the 20-Day deadline ‘clock’ will stop until you provide the missing information).

Here are some examples of work that requires a consent:

  • any structural building including new buildings, additions, alterations, accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling

  • plumbing and drainage

  • heating (fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems

  • siteworks for a building

  • retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres, or retaining walls with a building or driveway near the top

  • fences higher than 2.5 metres and any swimming pool fence

  • swimming pools

  • decks more than 1.5 metres from ground level.

Exempt work

There are a number changes, which came into effect on October 16, 2008, which will make it easier for homeowners to do minor building work without having to get Council Consent. The list of work that no longer requires a building consent has been extended and now includes:

  • Fences up to two metres in height (except pool fences).

  • Retaining walls up to 1.5 metres in height, providing they only carry the ground load.

  • Small garden sheds – they must be less than less than 10 square metres and a single storey. They cannot include sleeping accommodation or toilets or stored drinking water, and they must be as far from the boundary as the height of the shed itself and the rain water from the roof must not cause ponding or a nuisance to the neighbouring property.

  • Closing in an existing veranda or patio where the floor area does not exceed five square metres.

  • Changing existing household plumbing, including minor drainage work, as long as the work is done or signed off by a licensed plumber or drainlayer

  • Building or installing a small cabin near to an existing home, as long as the cabin is smaller than 10 m2 and does not have cooking or sanitary facilities

  • Removing or changing a non load-bearing wall

  • Building awnings, pergolas or verandas over a deck

  • Installing or replacing windows or exterior doors, provided there have not been weathertightness problems and there is no change to structural elements

  • Making a home more accessible by widening doorways and building access ramps

  • Fitting out shop or office interiors where the work does not modify certain important building features, such as fire escapes

  • Erecting tents or marquees, as long as they are smaller than 100m2 (for private use) and 50 m2 (for public use) and will not be used for more than a month

When and how to apply for a Building Consent

You must obtain a building consent before carrying out building work. Your application:

  • must be on the prescribed application form and be completed in full

  • must be accompanied by the prescribed application fee,

  • must be accompanied by plans, specifications and other information required by your Council or the Act.

There are check sheets and guidance documents available to help you prepare applications and to put together the necessary information held at your local council, but in the accompanying page is a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list. The Council will not accept incomplete applications.

Issuing a Building Consent

There is a 20 working day timeframe in which to process your building consent application. However processing time will stop if Council officers need to seek additional information. When your building consent is issued it will contain:

  • the building consent,

  • the addendum to the building consent which lists any special conditions relating to the approval,

  • advice on when to call for inspections,

  • copies of the approved plans and specifications.

It may also contain copies of other approvals relating to the project.

When You Can Start Work

You may commence work immediately upon receipt of your consent as long as all other authorisations that are required have been obtained. The issue of a building consent does not relieve the owner of obligations under other Acts.

Note: A building consent will lapse and become invalid if the work it authorises is not commenced within twelve calendar months from the date of consent issue; or within such further period of time Council in its discretion allows.

For Further information click the link below.