Guidance on applying for a certificate of acceptance with us, fees involved and what to do if your application has been refused.

Apply for a certificate of acceptance

To apply for a certificate of acceptance you will need the following:

  • A completed application for certificate of acceptance (Form B021) [PDF 89KB] 
  • Plans and specifications that clearly show the work that has been undertaken. This may include photographs.
  • Evidence that the work complies with the building code as it stands at the time of application (which may differ from the time the work was carried out). This is required to be in the form of a report that considers all of the work undertaken and how it complies with relevant building code clauses. It is likely that you will need to engage the services of a suitably qualified and experienced person who understands the building code and the inspection of buildings (an example may be a member of the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors, an architect, or in some cases an engineer).
  • Any other reports or statements from the people who carried out the work.

Where to send a certificate of acceptance application

Online: applying online will save you the cost of scanning fees, allow you to track your certificate of acceptance consent application and will reduce application processing time. Visit Online Services for further information.

Post: post your application to us at Compliance & Consenting Group, PO Box 73013, Christchurch 8154. 

Drop off: deliver your application to the Council office at 53 Hereford Street, Christchurch.

Certificate of acceptance fees

Certificates of acceptance are more complex and time consuming than a building consent, and are usually significantly more expensive than the equivalent building consent.

On application you will need to pay:

  • The application deposit fee as set in our Building Consents Fee Schedule.
  • In addition to the deposit, if the application is made under Section 96(1) (a) of the Building Act 2004 (work carried out without building consent when one was required), the application must be accompanied by any fees, charges or levies that would have been payable had the owner, or the owner’s predecessor in title applied for a building consent before carrying out the building work. This includes any development contributions that may have been payable. These fees do not contribute towards any of the processing costs of the certificate of acceptance application.

Please note that the value of work that is submitted will be assessed to determine if is reasonable, and may impact on the fees that are payable.

Once the application has been processed and the Council is ready to issue or refuse the application, all of the costs associated with the application will be calculated and it is likely that a further invoice will need to be paid before the decision is released.

An application that is comprehensive, concise and clear will be faster for the Council to process. That means it will be considerably less expensive.

Applying for and obtaining a certificate of acceptance does not relieve you from any other penalties or actions that may apply for carrying out building work without building consent.

What will the Council do with my application?

When the application is submitted it is briefly checked to see that adequate information has been supplied so it can be processed.

Council officers, or in some cases external consultants on behalf of the Council, will then carry out a desktop assessment, followed by an inspection of the work. We will consider all information that is available to us in order to decide whether we have reasonable grounds that the work complies with the building code.

A comprehensive report will then be written and a recommendation made.

At any stage during the process there may be communication with you to request clarifications or further information. The Council has 20 working days to process your application but the "clock: will be stopped until the Council receives any information requested.

The final decision will then be made on whether to issue or refuse to issue the certificate of acceptance, with the decision being released when all fees have been paid.

What will be on my certificate of acceptance?

Your certificate may include:

  • Acceptance from the Council that some or all of the work complies with the building code;
  • Acceptance from the Council that some or all of the work complies with the building code because we have reasonable grounds to believe this, but it may be qualified to say that we have not been able to inspect some or all of the work.
  • Exclusion of items because there is not enough evidence to decide whether or not the work complies, but that we consider the building is unlikely to be dangerous or insanitary.
  • Exclusion of items because we believe that some of the work does not comply with the building code. The certificate of acceptance will be issued to include only the work that we believe complies. We may also issue you with a notice to fix that will require you to rectify the non-compliant work.

Can my application for a certificate of acceptance be refused?

Your certificate may be refused in the following circumstances:

  • If we believe that the work does not comply with the building code, and the non-compliances are significant enough that it would be inappropriate to issue a certificate. The certificate will be issued along with a notice to fix that will require you to rectify the non-compliant work.
  • If there is not enough evidence to determine that the work complies with the building code. If there are concerns about whether the building is safe or sanitary, then there may be further action taken by the Council.

The Council takes a reasonable approach in assessing an application, considering any inspections done by the Council and all other relevant evidence, including its knowledge of all circumstances surrounding the work and who undertook the work.

What if I don't agree with the Council's decision?

If you do not agree with the Council decision then you can apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for a determination. View further information on the determination process on the MBIE website.