The Building Act 2004 can be complex and the Christchurch rebuild environment has provided many new challenges. However, there has never been a better time to work together and we are here to help you through the building consent process.

We recommend that you engage an experienced professional (e.g. an architect or draughtsperson) to help with design work, drawings, specifications and documentation before applying for a building consent.

Preparing your application

Work with your agent (e.g. an architect or designer) to come up with a concept design first. Unless you are confident that all matters have been considered, we recommend you do not proceed to final drawings early in your project until you have considered:

  • Requesting a pre-application meeting. This will identify if there are issues that need to be considered before your application is submitted.
  • Obtaining a project information memorandum (PIM). A PIM will identify any special features of the site and regulatory requirements such as resource consent. Even though getting a PIM is not mandatory, requesting one could save you time and money as you progress your design.
  • Have you thought about our free Eco-design advice service? Eco Design Advisors provide free, independent, expert advice on new home design and renovation. Advice is available for homeowners, home designers, builders and industry professionals.

Submitting your application

Pre-acceptance technical check

Your application will go through a technical acceptance check to assess if the relevant information has been provided.

A decision will be made whether to accept or not accept your application for processing. We will advise you in writing of the decision and include an invoice.

How is my application processed?

The application is assessed against the Building Act, Building Code 2004 and associated regulations.

Statutory clock

Once your application is accepted, the statutory time frame or clock, of 20 working days for processing, begins. We make a decision on your building consent within 20 working days.

The clock is reduced to 10 working days if the building that you are proposing has a MultiProof approval(external link).

Request for further information and the statutory clock

During processing of your application, the clock stops if we have to request further information (RFI). Please respond quickly with accurate and full information. Once the full information is provided the clock will be started again and processing of the consent will resume. Please refer to our most common RFI issues identified and some tips to avoid these. 

Assessing your application for compliance with the building

We process your application to become satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code(external link) would be met if the building work was properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications.

Involvement of other parties

  • Your application may be circulated to other parties within the Council for processing, which may include planning, engineering, building, water, drainage and others.
  • Your application may also be circulated to external specialists (for example Heritage New Zealand).
  • For some commercial buildings, the Council is required to send the fire design to Fire and Emergency New Zealand(external link) for review.

Granting your building consent

Once we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the documentation demonstrates compliance with the building code, we will grant the application. 

The date your building consent is granted is the date your building consent was approved pending payment of all fees due by you. You will be notified of any fees that are outstanding.

Issuing your building consent

  • When all fees are paid, your building consent will be issued.
  • Once your building consent is issued, make sure you read the full documentation carefully.
  • Once the building consent is issued the building work may begin, but in some circumstances, other legislation has a role to play that may mean that construction cannot start, such as waiting for resource consent approval. These conditions will be listed on a certificate attached to your building consent (section 37 of the Building Act).

Your building consent documents

Your building consent documents consist of:

  • The building consent form (Form 5). The building consent will also list any Building Act conditions. It will always list the condition under section 90 regarding inspections. If applicable, it may also list conditions under:
    • section 67 regarding waivers and modifications of the building code
    • section 73 regarding conditions for granting a building consent under section 72 for building work on land subject to natural hazards
    • section 77 for conditions imposed under section 75 for construction of building on 2 or more allotments
    • section 113 for buildings with specified intended lives
  • Building consent construction documentation and advice notes.
  • Schedule of specified inspections. These are the inspections that are intended to be carried out by the Council. There also may be some inspections being carried out by your engineer, these will be noted on the above building consent construction documentation and advice note document.
  • Project information memorandum (PIM) if you requested one, or one was previously issued for the work.
  • Development contribution notice (Form 3) if there are development contributions that are required to be paid before the code compliance certificate is issued (commonly referred to as a section 36 certificate).
  • Certificate attached to PIM (Form 4) if a resource consent is required and there are restrictions on carrying out the work (commonly referred to as a section 37 certificate).
  • Draft compliance schedule if the building includes specified systems.
  • Stamped and approved copy of the plans and specifications that you have submitted. This may be split into plans, specifications, and supporting documents.

How long is your building consent valid for?

Building consents are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. 

Work must have commenced within the 12 months or the building consent will automatically lapse (unless an extension to start work has been requested), requiring a new application if you want to proceed with the work.

Inspections (including third parties)

  • Under sections 90 and 222 of the Building Act 2004, agents authorised by the Council (acting as a building consent authority) are entitled, at all times during normal working hours or while building work is being done, to inspect:
    • land on which building work is being or is proposed to be carried out; and
    • building work that has been or is being carried out on or off that building site; and
    • any building.
  • A number of Council inspections are to be carried out during the project. Remember to book inspections – phone (03) 941 8222 – as you complete stages of the project.
  • Sometimes it is necessary for specialists to do inspections in addition to those carried out by the Council. If third party construction monitoring (e.g. by your engineer) has been agreed, these inspections will be listed in the consent documentation and advice notes provided to you.

Certificate for public use

  • If you are a commercial building owner where the public is to be admitted, and you want to start using premises before a code compliance certificate is issued, you must apply for a certificate for public use. This certificate enables members of the public to use the premises until a code compliance certificate is issued.
  • Certificates for public use can be used only where a consent has been granted for the building work, but a code compliance certificate has not been issued yet.
  • Once your complete application has been received, the statutory time frame, or clock of 20 working days for processing begins. The clock may be stopped if a request for further information (RFI) is made. The clock does not restart until all of the information requested in an RFI has been received. We make a decision on your certificate for public use within 20 working days whether to issue or refuse your certificate for public use.
  • Anyone who owns, occupies, or controls premises intended for public use may apply for a certificate for public use.

Apply for your code compliance certificate

  • As soon as practicable following completion of the building work, you must apply to the Council for a code compliance certificate using the prescribed form.
  • Once your complete application has been received, the statutory time frame, or clock of 20 working days for processing begins. The clock may be stopped if a request for further information (RFI) is made. The clock does not restart until all of the information requested in an RFI has been received. We make a decision on your code compliance certificate within 20 working days whether to issue or refuse your code compliance certificate.
  • A code compliance certificate is issued by the Council at the completion of building work, once it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building work complies with the building consent.

Code compliance certificate issued

  • It can take up to 20 working days to process your code compliance certificate application.
  • If an application for code compliance certificate has not been made within two years of the date that the building consent was granted, or any further period agreed between the owner and the Council, the Council must make a decision whether to issue the code compliance certificate.
  • If an application for a code compliance certificate is refused, you may apply again once any identified non-compliances have been remedied.

Resolving problems