You might need a building consent for minor residential works where your planned alterations are to walls or plumbing within your house or property.

In some cases work may be exempt from the need to obtain a building consent. Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004 lists work that is exempt.


Building work in connection with an internal wall does not require a building consent unless the wall is:

  • load bearing
  • a bracing element
  • a fire wall
  • part of a specified system
  • made of units of materials (bricks, burnt clay, concrete or stone) laid to a bond in and joined together with mortar.


Plumbing work that can be carried out without building consent is outlined in Schedule 1 exemption 32 - 39(external link).

Please note: The definition of minor is at the discretion of the Council.

To apply for a building consent for minor internal residential building alterations, complete the following application form and check sheet:

You can also apply for an exemption decision from the Council for other work on a case-by-case basis. This work must meet the requirement that it's built in accordance with the building code and won't pose a threat to people or property if done incorrectly.

Please note: In some cases a building consent may not be needed but a resource consent may be a requirement. If you are not sure whether you need a building consent or a resource consent, contact the Council on (03) 941 8999 to discuss with a Duty Building Consent Officer or Duty Planner.


Refer to the Building Consents Fee Schedule.

Please note: Fixed fees and minimum application fees do not always cover all of the consent related costs of an application.

Starting, progressing and completing your minor works

Once you have received the required consents, or have confirmed that you are exempt from requiring consent, you can start work on your project. It is important to understand the building consents process including inspections as you go. You will need a Code Compliance Certificate to complete the project.

Other useful information

If you are:

  • Building a deck
  • Building a garage
  • Altering an office in a commercial building
  • Installing a solid or liquid fuel burner.

We also recommend you and your professional refer to the guide: Building Consent Application Notes  – Guidance on Means of Compliance [PDF, 23 KB] (Information sheet - B-302) to check you can meet building code standards for these kinds of alterations on your building and property.

If you are installing fire safety systems the following documents offer guidance: