Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions and answers related to building consents, please contact us if you have any further enquires.

Building Consents

Building Inspections

Code Compliance Certificates

Commercial, Retail or Industrial Premises



Further information or advice


Building Consents

What is a building consent?

A building consent is the formal approval issued by a BCA verifying that the work you have described in the plans, specification and other supporting information will, if built in accordance with that documentation, meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Act, Building Regulations and Building Code.  Most building work requires a building consent, but some minor work is exempt under the Act. Exempt work is listed on Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004.

When is a building consent required?

A building consent is required for most work including:

  • swimming pools, spa pools and fencing,
  • retaining walls over 1.5 m high (no surcharge),
  • retaining walls any height incurring a surcharge,
  • decks over 1.5 m high,
  • freestanding non-habitable buildings larger than 10 m2,
  • most new plumbing and drainage work,
  • relocation,
  • additions and alterations to existing buildings,
  • new buildings,
  • heating, including fireplaces, ventilation and air-conditioning systems,
  • installing or removing specified systems.

If you are unsure if your project requires a building consent, you should check with a competent designer, plumber or builder.

How long does it take to get a building consent?

The Building Act requires that a building consent is granted within 20 working days of being accepted. If information is deficient, the time clock is stopped and a formal request will be made for further information. The time clock is not restarted until the requested information is received. Incomplete applications will be refused and sent back to the owner.

How do I apply for a building consent?

You will need to fully complete an application form and provide the information that is relevant to your building project. If you are unsure how to complete a form, you should seek the help of a competent design professional or refer to the application guide. Where the work involves restricted building work, you must provide a Memorandum (Certificate of Design Work) from the design licensed building practitioner (LBP). Council is unable to accept building consents with restricted work without these certificates. If you have a particularly large or complex project, we suggest that you make a time to come and see us to discuss the project to establish if any other information is required. A building consent packet, can be obtained from your nearest Council Service Centre, or contact us and we will post one out. Alternatively, individual forms can be downloaded from our website.

Once you have all the necessary information, you can post or email the application to Building Services or deliver it to our Council Service Centre with your deposit. On receipt of your application, it will be forwarded to Environmental Services at the Dannevirke office for vetting (checking). The vetting is for the purposes of establishing if the required information has been provided. The vetting will be undertaken within 2 working days from the application being received.  

Does my consent expire?

Once your building consent has been issued and you have not started work within 12 months, your consent will lapse and be of no effect. This means that you will have to reapply for a new consent. If you cannot start work within the 12 months please come and see us to discuss your plans and we may grant an extension of time.  

What sort of information do I need?

Building consent applications can be complex; we recommend that you engage a competent design professional to help with the design work and drawings. Remember if the work involves restricted work, that work must be designed by an LBP. Each application must be accompanied by:

  • two sets of plans
  • two sets of specifications
  • two sets of engineering calculations (if applicable)
  • two sets of wall bracing calculations (if applicable)
  • deposit
  • Certificate of Title
  • certificates from the design LBPs.

How much will it cost?

This depends on the type of application, the cost of work involved and the level of detail provided. Our charges are based on the length of time it takes to process an application and include costs, such as:

  • levies payable to the Ministry of Building, Innovation & Employment (payable on all applications $20,000 and over)
  • levies payable to BRANZ (payable on all applications $20,000 and over)
  • time spent processing the application
  • number of inspections required (type and number vary depending on the project)
  • issue of code compliance certificate
  • issue of compliance schedule (if applicable)
  • A proportion of the fees maybe refunded on receipt of written confirmation that the work is not going to proceed.

How is my application processed?

All applications, regardless of how they are received, are put through a formal vetting process. The vetting process is not a technical check it is merely a check to see if all information has been provided. Your application may be rejected at this time if insufficient information has been provided. The 20 working day clock will start when the application is accepted as complete. If a request for further information (RFI) is sent, the 20 working day time clock is stopped and processing is suspended until this information is provided. Once the requested information is received processing will re commence and will be granted by the BCA. An invoice is generated for the balance of the fees payable (inspections, code compliance certificate, etc). Upon payment of these fees, the consent will be issued.

National Multiuse approvals:

The Ministry of Building, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has provided a form of pre-approval for some types of building work. If you intend to use a design that has a national multiuse approval, you should explain this in your application. The BCA must process a national multiuse approval within 10 working days. You must provide copies of the certificates issued by MBIE with your application.

How will I be notified?

When your application is ready for issue (or refused issue) and all fees are paid, your building consent will be posted to the contact person nominated on the application form. If there are outstanding fees, you will receive an invoice advising you that your building consent is ready and will be issued when all fees are paid. If your application has been refused, a letter will be sent advising you the reason/s why your application has been refused.

What are building consent conditions?

There may be conditions imposed on your building consent that are deemed necessary to ensure compliance. For example, a condition may be placed in the building consent if you are building over 2 allotments of land that are not on the same title and will prevent building works from commencing until a certificate issued under section 77 of the Building Act 2004 has been registered with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) by a lawyer or solicitor.

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Building Inspections

The inspection process

When called, a Building Officer will visit the site to undertake an inspection of the work to establish if the work complies with the building consent. Council uses a range of electronic check sheets to assist in our inspections. Typically, 80% of all inspections identify shortcomings that require additional inspections. If your consent was applied for after March 1 2012, you must identify all licensed building practitioners involved in the project before starting work. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that the correct LBPs are doing the work. If there are any questions, you should discuss this with your LBP.

What inspections do I need?

When your application is being processed, we will identify what inspections will be necessary to enable us to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that compliance will be achieved. Each inspection will be identified along with the requirements for that particular inspection. When you receive your building consent, you should read it fully. If you have any questions, please contact us as soon as possible. We will be happy to discuss or explain the process. Missed inspections may mean that a code compliance certificate cannot be issued. Council is always keen to avoid the need to refuse to issue a CCC.

Inspections by others

Sometimes it is necessary for specialists to conduct inspections in addition to the inspections carried out by the Building Consent Authority. If a specialist inspection is necessary, you will generally be advised before the consent is issued. Typically, these types of inspections may involve having a geotechnical engineer confirm ground stability, or having an aspect of specific structural design checked by a registered engineer. When applying for a building consent you can detail your proposed inspection regime for consideration. Please ensure you read inspection requirements and are familiar with them before commencing work.

How do I book an inspection?

Building inspections are booked through the Customer Services team on 06 374 4080 or by using the GoBuild mobile Application (do not contact the Building Officer directly). You should provide as much notice as possible to avoid delays.

For an inspection to take place, the approved plans and documentation must be available on site, excluding farm buildings & domestic outbuildings. N.B: If we arrive on site and the documentation is not available, we will not undertake the inspection. We will however; bill you for our time.

On the conclusion of all inspections, the outcome of the inspection is recorded on the electronic inspection report.  It is preferable that the owner or an agent be available on site for all inspections, while we appreciate that this may not always be possible it is mandatory that for final inspections the owner or their representative is on site.

What if the inspection has not been approved?

If an inspection is failed, the work to be rectified will be recorded on the required items report. Another inspection may be required to inspect the remedial work. All re-inspections will be charged at the current rate in the Council's schedule of fees and charges. If the work is not remedied to the satisfaction of the Building Officer, it is likely that a notice to fix will be issued.

What is a notice to fix?

A notice to fix is a formal notice issued by the Building Consent Authority advising that certain works have not been carried out in accordance with the Building Code. If a notice to fix is issued, you are required to address the issues identified within a prescribed timeframe to prevent further action being taken. The Building Act provides significant fines in relation to a notice to fix. It is our preference to work with builders owners etc and have any non-compliance resolved amicably and quickly. If a notice to fix is issued, a letter identifying the process will accompany it, explaining the process.

Do I need a final inspection?

Yes, all Building Consents require a final inspection. You should ask for a final inspection when you consider all the work is completed and apply for a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC). If you have not applied for a CCC within 2 years of the date that the Building Consent was issued Council will be in contact to discuss your progress. If you cannot complete the work within this time frame, it is essential that you contact us to discuss possible ramifications. When all work has been completed in accordance with the Building Consent, a Code Compliance Certificate will be issued. If not the BCA can refuse to issue the CCC and you will then need to apply for a determination from MBIE.

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Code Compliance Certificates

What is a code compliance certificate (CCC)?

A CCC is the BCA's verification that all works undertaken comply with the Building Consent. It is an important document and should be retained for future reference. It is mandatory to apply for a Code Compliance Certificate after all work has been completed. Council has 20 working days to decide whether to issue or to refuse to issue a Code Compliance Certificate. A CCC must be applied for on the appropriate form. You should attach to the application any memorandums issued by licensed building practitioners, any energy works certificates, or other supporting information, drawings and the like. If your project involved work on specified systems, you should attach all relevant information including plans and/or details of where the specified systems are located in the building.

What about issuing Code Compliance Certificates for Building Consents issued under the 1991 Act?

Providing we are satisfied that the building work complies with the building code in place at the time the consent was granted and the provisions of the Building Act, then generally, a CCC will be able to be issued. If Council is not satisfied that Act provisions are satisfied, or it is not satisfied that reasonable ground exist to enable the issue of a CCC, then the CCC may be refused. If we refuse to issue a CCC you will be notified of the reasons for refusal in writing.

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Commercial, Retail or Industrial Premises

Section 363 Public Premises

If your building is intended for public use, i.e. open to the public, whether for free or payment of a charge and you are undertaking building work, you may need a Certificate for Public Use. This is a certificate that verifies that in the view of the Council, the building can be used by the public safely. If you are arranging for work to be done on your public building, you should discuss the section 363 provisions with your designers and contractors, or contact Council to make an application. You will need to fill out the application form. Council has 20 working days to issue the Certificate for Public Use

What are public premises?

Any building which is open to the public, whether for free or payment of a charge, including:

  • shopping malls,
  • cinemas,
  • marae,
  • camping grounds,
  • garages and workshops,
  • funeral homes,
  • office and retail complexes,
  • rest homes, etc.

Compliance Schedules and Building Warrant of Fitness

A compliance schedule is a document issued by the BCA, with a CCC, for buildings that contain specified systems. The compliance schedule lists the inspection maintenance and reporting procedures for the Independently Qualified Persons (IQPs) will follow in relation to each system. The purpose of the compliance schedule is to ensure that the identified systems will be kept in good working order. Your design professional should be able to provide the necessary information with the building consent application. A compliance schedule must be kept on site and made available to Building Officers, Independent Qualified Persons (IQP's), Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP) and authorised agents.

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If you are unhappy with a decision made by a Council staff member and you are unable to resolve that with them, you are able to make a written compliant to:

Manager Regulatory Services
Tararua District Council
PO Box 115

You are able to make complaints anonymously, however anonymous complaints can be particularly difficult to resolve.

What information is required?

  • date incident occurred,
  • nature of complaint (guidance information, vetting, lodgement, inspection, notice to fix, code compliance certificate or compliance schedule),
  • copies of any supporting information (if applicable),
  • relationship (customer, regulator, or stakeholder),
  • name and contact details.

All complainants will be responded to within 5 days of the receipt of the complaint, at which time you may be asked whether you wish to be heard in relation to the complaint or to provide further information. All complaints will be actioned within 10 working days of the receipt of the complaint, unless a request for further information is made.

Do I have a right of appeal?

Yes, if you do not agree with the outcome, you may request a review of the decision. All appeals must be made in writing setting out the reasons why you disagree with the decision. All appeals will be responded to within 10 working days. If you are still unhappy, or choose to use an alternative route to settle a matter of doubt or dispute, you may apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment for a Determination. Visit for further information on this service.

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If you are proposing to build a dam, you should discuss this with Horizons Regional Council. Dam means an artificial barrier and its appurtenant structures that:

a) is constructed to hold back water or other fluid under constant pressure so as to form a reservoir,
b) is used for the storage, control, or diversion of water or other fluid.

A dam includes:

  • a flood control dam
  • a natural feature that has been significantly modified to function as a dam
  • a canal

A dam does not include:

  • a stop bank designed to control floodwaters.

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For further information or advice:

Building Control Contact Details

Phone 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110
Fax 06 374 4137
Location 26 Gordon Street, Dannevirke 4930
Postal Address PO Box 115, Dannevirke 4942

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