Building consents are issued by the Council to verify that proposed work meets the New Zealand Building Code 1992, the Building Act 2004 and associated regulations. Building work cannot begin until the building consent (and Resource Consent if required) is issued.
Depending on your project, you may also need to consider other legislation such as the Resource Management Act 1991. Visit Property Information to see information on Land Information Memorandums, Natural Hazards, Resource Consents and Healthy Housing.
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).
If you’re planning any construction, demolition or alteration work, you’ll need building consent before work can begin. Building consent is also often needed for tents or marquees, pools, fireplaces, driveways and solar panels. There are some exemptions. If in doubt, talk to us or refer to MBIE guidance on work requiring consents.
Find more information on Building Consent FAQ page.
If you wish to change some aspect of your building project after your consent has been approved you will need to apply for an amendment to the Building Consent before the work is carried out.
The process for obtaining an amendment is same as obtaining the original consent.
It is very important that at the time of inspection the Building Consent documents accurately reflect what has been built.
Minor variations that don’t differ significantly from the plans and specifications can be approved on site at the time of inspection.
Applications for alterations to an existing building
In accordance with section 112 of the Building Act 2004, building consents can only be granted for alterations to existing buildings where the building consent authority is satisfied that the building will:
- comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable with the Building Code provisions for means of escape from fire and access and facilities for people with disabilities (if required)
- continue to comply with the other provisions of the Building Code to at least the same extent as before the alteration.
The Act clarifies that if part of a building is altered, the upgrade provisions are triggered for the whole building.
A territorial authority may, by written notice, grant an application to allow alterations to take place without the building complying with the relevant provisions of the Building Code. A territorial authority can only grant such an application if it is satisfied that:
- if the building were to comply with the relevant provisions of the Building Code, the alteration would not take place
- the alterations will result in improvements to the means of escape from fire or access and facilities for people with disabilities
- the improvements outweigh any detriment likely to arise as a result of the other non-compliance with the Code.
Alterations to earthquake-prone buildings are now under section 133AT of the Building Act.
More information about the requirements for alterations to existing buildings can be found on the MBIE website
If you’re planning to install a fireplace in your home you’ll need building consent. If your property is less than two hectares in lot size, you’ll need to choose a wood burner from a list approved by the Ministry for the Environment. Second hand fires will only be approved if they have been certified by the manufacturer.
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.
Waitaki District Council allows an exemption for some pole sheds. Please see Application for Exemption Form - Pole Shed only(PDF, 335KB) to see if you meet the criteria. Please contact us for information and advice about exemptions and the building consent process.
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) are designers, carpenters, roofers, external plasterers, bricklayers and block layers and those who lay foundations, who are licensed under the Government's LBP scheme.
No restricted building works can start until Council has been notified of the names and licence numbers for the trade LBPs who will be doing the work.
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. The Owner-Builder Exemption ensures the Kiwi tradition of DIY building work can continue. If you're a homeowner who qualifies for the exemption, you will not need to be or use a licensed building practitioner (LBP) for any restricted building work on your home. However, you will still need to apply for a building consent.
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.
Failure to provide all the required Memorandums could result in the Council being unable to issue the final Code of Compliance Certificate for the project.
Memorandum from Licensed Building Practitioner: Certificate of Design Work
Memorandum from Licensed Building Practitioner: Record of Building Work
A producer statement is a professional opinion based on sound judgment and specialist expertise. It is not a product warranty or guarantee of compliance.
While producer statements are well-established and widely used, they have no particular status under the Building Act 2004. They are used as one source of information which the council may rely upon to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to conclude that the work complies with the Building Code.
In considering whether to accept a producer statement, a council will normally assess the credentials of the author to ensure that person has the appropriate experience and competence in their particular field of expertise and make their own inspections of the building work. For more information, check out Producer statements.
Many people apply for a PIM at the same time as building consent. This report 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 apply for a PIM report on the building consent application forms.
If the public uses all or part of your building, and you want them to access it before your building work has been signed off as complete, you can apply to your council for a certificate for public use. Your application will need to show that all or part of the building (whatever you are applying for) can be used safely by members of the public. i.e.. Any specified systems must remain operational.