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.
- Once your application is accepted, the statutory timeframe, 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 ask you for further information (RFI). Please respond quickly with accurate information. Once the full information is provided the clock will be started again. Please refer to our most common RFI issues identified and some tips to avoid these.
Verifying your application against compliance with the building code
We process your application to verify that if your project is constructed in accordance with your building consent documents, it will be considered compliant with the building code.
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 the New Zealand Fire Service Engineering Unit (external link) for review.
Granting your building consent
Once we are satisfied 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.
- In some circumstances, having a building consent issued to you does not necessarily mean that construction can start. Other legislation has a role to play too and you may have to wait for other authorisations such as resource consent. 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).
- 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.
- 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 lapses, requiring a new application if you want to proceed with the work.
Inspections (including third parties)
- The building consent will require a number of council inspections 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 done 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 provided to you.
Apply for your code compliance certificate
- A code compliance certificate is issued by the Council at the completion of building work, confirming that the building work complies with the building consent.
- As soon as practicable following completion of the building work, and after all inspections have been completed, you must apply to the Council for a code compliance certificate using the prescribed form.
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.
- Anyone who owns, occupies or controls premises intended for public use may apply for a certificate for public use.
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.