Building Consent

What is a building consent?

A building consent is formal approval for proposed building work, certifying that the project, as documented, complies with the New Zealand Building Code, Building Act and Building regulations. No building work requiring a building consent can start until one has been issued, and other requirements such as a Resource Consent conditions have been met.

Building Consents do not give any form of planning approval under the Council’s District Plan. It is your responsibility to find out whether your proposal complies with the District Plan by contacting the Local Authority or consulting with your own planning advisor.

If it does not comply with the District Plan you will need a resource consent. You are strongly advised to obtain this before seeking a building consent, to avoid expensive changes to your proposal.

Do I need a building consent?

Most building, plumbing and drainage work requires a building consent.

Work that doesn’t require consent

Applying for a building consent

The process of applying for a building consent depends on the nature of the work you are planning.

Step 1 ( Optional ) – Project Information Memorandum ( PIM )

A project Information Memorandum ( PIM ) is a council report which provides information about land and the requirements of legislation that might be relevant to proposed building work. You can choose to apply for this before lodging a building consent application so that you can anticipate any potential issues, or you can apply at the same time as your building consent.

A PIM is not mandatory, but for larger projects such as new houses, large alterations and new commercial or industrial buildings, you will find a PIM very useful in establishing the feasibility and design of the project. Therefore, it is a good idea to obtain a PIM in the planning stages of larger projects.

A PIM covers:

  • Heritage status and special features such as natural hazards
  • Details of water, stormwater or wastewater utility systems which relate to your proposed building work or to your building site
  • Network utility information such as vehicle access
  • Applications or approvals you may need before you can start construction, occupy the building or start commercial operations
  • A certificate detailing Resource Management Act requirements.

The PIM either confirms that, subject to the requirements of the building consent and all other necessary authorisations being obtained, you will be able to carry out the building work, or it gives you notification that building work may not be undertaken.

Step 2 – Prepare and submit your building consent application

Use the Building Consent application via the local authority portal which is available on their website. The form must be completed by the property owner or their authorised agent, e.g architect, engineer, draughtsman or builder.

Step 3 – Reviewing your application

It is compulsory for building consent applications to go through a pre-lodgement assessment process. The process is called ‘Vetting’ and consists of a an assessment of your application before it is officially lodged.

Standard of documents
Building work which requires a Licensed Building Practitioner ( LPB) will need to be documented by the LBP.

Producer Statements
Producer Statements can be used as good tools to reduce the councils input into specific aspects of design reviews or construction monitoring work, thereby providing a more cost-efficient and effective service to clients. We may accept/require a Producer Statement from a suitably qualified expert as evidence that their design or building work complies, or will comply with the Building Code. The content of producer statements must be project specific.

Amendments – can I change the plans?
You are able to change your plans at any stage. Any changes to a consent that has already been granted will require an amended application. This will involve extra cost.

Processing building consents

Once your building consent application has been accepted, It will be given a unique consent number and entered into our processing system. Building officers will evaluate your building consent application to ensure it meets all legal requirements.

Depending on the nature of the work and the location of the property, other departments within the council may also be involved in this evaluation – transportation, water services, coastal and river erosion, flooding, ponding etc.

It may also be necessary, depending on the nature of the work, to have certain aspects of the consent reviewed by a third party such as specialist engineers. In all cases where a third party review is required, you will be notified and given the choice of using your own specialist or a council-appointed specialist, with the cost added to your consent fee.


The council are legally required to process your application within 20 working days. The processing clock starts when the consent is accepted, but may be stopped if the council find your application does not contain all the necessary details to make a proper evaluation of the proposed work.

In this case, an officer will ask you for extra information. Until it is received, the processing clock remains stopped, and the delay is not counted as part of the 20 working days. The clock will start as soon as the information is received.


Building Consent fees will be assessed when the consent is processed and will include payment for an estimated number of inspections required for your project. Please visit your local council website to obtain the fee schedule.

Decisions and Disputes

Whether the council approve your building consent application depends upon how well the project conforms with the requirements of the building code and building act. If you disagree with the council over some aspect of your building proposal, you can apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for a determination.

Ministry of business

The Department will make a ruling on matters within its jurisdiction. There is a charge for the service.

Granting and issuing consents

Once your application has been assessed as meeting all requirements, it will be granted. It will be issued when all the necessary fees have been paid.

Once you have your building consent and any other approvals required, such as a Resource Consent, you may begin building.

The consent will consist of a large envelope that contains the approved Building Consent and Plans and Specifications.

The pack will also contain guidance documents etc. This pack must be available on site during the entire project. It is very important that you and your contractor(s) read the building consent documents to ensure you are clear about its requirements.

It will contain a list of inspections required to be made by Council Officers during the building process, and a list of Producer Statements required from specialists. Those specialists will be required to provide documentation of the work or inspections they undertake in support of their Producer Statement. Council will accept Producer Statements only from those registered with them.
Work must start on your project within 12 months from the date of the consent being issued. You may decide that you will not do the work, in which case the consent will be lapsed, or you may apply for an extension of time.This must be in writing and may be granted in some circumstances.

The Council will grant a maximum six month extension unless there is specific reason to grant a further period. If council do not hear from you within the stated time, or an extension of time to start is refused, the consent will lapse and a new one would be needed before any work can start.

Other building-related approvals

Sometimes building work may be delayed while other approvals are sought because they were not identified early enough.

Speak to your designer to ensure all approvals required for your project are applied for.