Find out when you need building consent, how to apply, and things you need to know before starting work on your project.
For further information, check out Building Consent Steps 1 & 2: Accepting and Processing (441KB pdf)
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See our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us.
Before you begin
Building consent is issued by the Council to verify that proposed work meets the New Zealand Building Code 1992 and the Building Act 2004. Building work cannot start until the building consent is issued.
Depending on your project, you may also need to apply for resource consent before you can start work.
The Building Act
Building work in New Zealand is controlled by the Building Act 2004. This legislation is designed to ensure that buildings in New Zealand are built right the first time and that appropriately skilled people design, build and inspect building work.
To achieve this, the Act requires anyone proposing to do building work to firstly obtain a building consent (BC) from a building consent authority (BCA). A BCA is the part of Council that receives, grants and issues building consents, undertakes inspections and issues code compliance certificates.
The Building Act is administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
When is a building consent required?
If you’re planning any construction, demolition or alteration work, you’ll need a building consent before building work can begin. Building consent is also often needed for marquees, pool fencing, and fireplaces. There are some exemptions. If in doubt, talk to us or refer to Schedule 1 of the Building Act, 2004.
If you’re planning to install a fireplace in your home you’ll need a building consent. If your property is less than two hectares in allotment size, you’ll need to choose a wood burner from a list approved by the Ministry for the Environment. Council does not approve building consents for second-hand wood burners unless they have been inspected by an approved engineer.
Building work that does not require a building consent
*Update: 6 August 2020*
New building consent exemptions, coming into effect on 31 August 2020, have now been published on the NZ legislation website. For a summary of the new exemptions, please visit building.govt.nz
Only building work listed under Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 may be done without first obtaining a Building Consent, but the building work must still comply with the Building Code. Further information can be found in the exemption guide that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have developed.
If you are not sure whether your building work is exempt, please contact us for information and advice about exemptions and the building consent process.
Restricted building work
Building and design work relating to a building’s structure, foundations, fire safety or moisture protection is classified as ‘restricted building work’. Restricted building work currently only relates to residential buildings, and can only be carried out by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP).
Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs)
Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) are designers, carpenters, roofers, external plasterers, bricklayers and blocklayers and those who lay foundations, who are licensed under the Government's LBP scheme. No building works can start until the Council has been notified of the names and licence numbers for the trade LBPs who will be doing the work. Council must be notified of the LBPs before the first inspection.
Note: Registered architects and chartered professional engineers are automatically treated as Design LBPs. Licensed or certified plumbers are automatically treated as LBPs so that they are able to carry out and supervise fitting and sealing or flashing of pipe work through exterior walls and certain roofing and cladding work, in the ordinary course of their work.
The Public Register for current Licensed Building Practitioners can be found here, more information about LBP's can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.
Building consent applications for restricted building work must include a Memorandum (Certificate of Design Work) from the LBP.
At the end of the project, each LBP is required to provide a Memorandum (Record of Building Work), which details the work the LBP carried out.
Memorandum From Licensed Building Practitioner: Certificate of Design Work
(290KB pdf)Memorandum From Licensed Building Practitioner: Record of Building Work
Project Information Memorandum (PIM)
A PIM provides information relevant to a proposed building project, and can include things like the location of services, likelihood of flooding, subsidence and ground stability. It’s also a way to find out about any other requirements you might need for your project, such as resource consents, vehicle crossings or other issues that may affect the design and/or construction of the proposed structure. You may apply for a PIM on the building consent application forms.
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Applying for building consent
To apply for building consent, you need to fill out the building consent application form and provide one copy of your plan and supporting documents. There are some additional requirements for commercial building consent applications, please contact us to discuss what may be required.
Save time and money with self-service building consent applications. Our new building consents online system allows you to submit, manage and track applications from anywhere, at any time.
You can apply for a building consent online on the Simpli Portal.
If you wish to apply using a hard copy, you can download the building consent application form and the guide to completing the form below or from https://simpli.govt.nz/tool-box
Building consent application form (460KB pdf)
Guide to completing the building consent application form (924KB pdf)
Your application can be lodged at any Council Service Centre, via email or through the simpli portal. The application will be checked before being accepted to ensure that all of the required information is supplied.
Once you have all the necessary information, you can post the application to Council, deliver it to our Council Service Centre or through the Simpli Portal. There is a vetting check 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.
More information about building consent can be found in the Building Consent Steps 1 & 2: Accepting and Processing (653KB pdf), if you have any further questions please contact us.
Ensuring your application form is correct and complete
The application form has a number of parts and it is important that all the sections are completed and information is provided on how the building work will comply with the building code. Applications will not be accepted if any of the information is missing. Mail applications will be returned by mail if not accepted.
The initial vetting check is for content of the application only. There is a more detailed check for accuracy of the information supplied during processing. Building work cannot begin until the building consent is issued.
MultiProof building consents
These are sometimes called national multi-use approvals. MultiProofs enable builders who replicate the same or similar buildings to benefit from a streamlined building consent process.
Where a building design is intended to be replicated several times, a builder can apply to have the design pre-approved for Building Code compliance by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This avoids the need for the design to be assessed and re-approved by individual building consent authorities each time it is proposed for a different site.
You’ll still need a building consent each time you want to build a design that has been issued with a MultiProof approval. This is so we can check that the approval conditions are met and that the
site-specific features of the design, such as foundations and drainage, comply with the Building Code and District Plan rules.
The BCA only assesses the Building Code compliance of site-specific features excluded from the MultiProof, the statutory timeframe for a MultiProof building consent is 10 working days.
Calculating building consent fees
An application fee or full fees will be required upon lodging the building consent at one of our Service Centres, if you are lodging a consent through Simpli portal, an invoice will be sent to you. A building officer will calculate the full fees and will include the estimated number of inspections required for your project when processing the building consent application. A full list of Council's fees and charges can be downloaded from here.
If the value of your project is over $20,000.00 for brands or $20,444.00 for MBIE, your fees will include levies, which we are required to collect on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ).
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Processing the consent application
Once your application has been accepted, it will be entered into our electronic processing system and given an individual number. Your application will also be linked to the property records.
If the Building Consent Application has all the required information, the Council has a statutory timeframe of 20 working days to process and grant the Building Consent. However, if any further information is required the processing ‘clock’ will stop. The ‘clock’ will resume once the required information has been provided, and accepted, the Building Consent will then be granted.
The application is checked for compliance with Council bylaws, District Plan and other legislation, such as vehicle access, earthworks, water reticulation, public drainage and, in the case of commercial premises, areas such as health, trade waste, Building Warrant of Fitness.
Occasionally, due to the complexity or nature of the building design or resourcing, Council may opt to use an external consultant to help with processing. In these situations the consultant is working on Council’s behalf. If there are any questions or concerns, a letter will be sent to you requesting further information/clarification. When a request for further information is sent, the “clock” is stopped until this information is provided.
Some applications will be sent to Fire and Emergency New Zealand if they meet the criteria outlined in the New Zealand gazette, No 49 3 May 2012 ( See Page 1406).
In some instances, Producer Statements may be accepted as means of establishing compliance. This is generally where the work involves specific design, such as structural or fire designs.
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If your plans change
All building work related to a building consent must be done according to the plans, specifications and detail provided with the consent. If you want to change part of the project you need to apply for an amendment to the building consent. The process of requesting an amendment is similar to the original consent. You need to provide full construction detail of any changes, so we can assess them.
Council needs to approve the amendment before you can carry out any work.
Issuing a building consent
Once your application has been processed and Council are satisfied on reasonable grounds that it meets all provisions of the Building Code, and all necessary fees are paid, it will be granted and a Building Consent and/or Project Information Memorandum (PIM) if a PIM has been requested, will be issued.
It is very important that you (and your agent) read the building consent documentation to ensure you are clear about the requirements. Your building consent contains a Required Items Checklist with useful information about matters which you need to comply with while undertaking your building project.
The Required Items Checklist will also contain a list of inspections required to be made by Building Officers during the building work and a list of documents required from all trades involved. The identified specialists must provide documentation of the inspections they undertake in support of their producer statement.
Building work must start on your project within twelve (12) months after the consent issue date or the building consent will lapse. You may apply for an extension of time to start work.
More information about the issuing of a Building Consent can be found in the Building Consent Steps 1 & 2: Accepting and Processing document. If you have any further questions please get in contact with us on 06 374 4080 (north) or 06 376 0110 (south), or via email.
Requesting more time
You can request an extension of time for a building consent if:
- You are unable to commence work twelve (12) months from issue date of the building consent; or
- You are unable to request a Code Compliance Certificate two (2) years after the building consent is granted.
An extension of time request to commence or complete work should be made in writing to the Team Leader Building Services, Tararua District Council, PO Box 115, Dannevirke 4942.
This may be done by the builder on the owner’s behalf, but responsibility remains the owner’s. The extension of time request should include the following information:
- building consent application number
- project location
- progress to date
- anticipated completion date
- reason for extension
Extension of time application form (49KB pdf)
Guide to completing the extension of time application form (180KB pdf)
How to withdraw your application for a building consent
You may withdraw or cancel your application for a building consent. You may be eligible for a partial refund of fees paid. This must be made in writing to:
Team Leader Building Services
Tararua District Council
PO Box 115
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