Processing the Building Consent Application

1. Pre-checking and acceptance of application

Once your application has been received by Council it will be checked by an officer to ensure all the required information is supplied. The initial check is for content of the application only. A more detailed check for accuracy of the information supplied is done during processing.

Once we accept your application, it will be entered into our electronic processing system and given an individual number. This will be advised to you in a letter acknowledging receipt of your application. This number should be quoted whenever you write to or contact Council about your Building Consent application. Your application will be linked to the records for the property.

2. Processing your application

The Building Act requires Council to process a Building Consent application in twenty (20) working days. The 20 working day period (statutory clock) for processing an application commences the next working day after the day on which a complete application is received. If the application is for a national multi-use approval (multi-proof) consent, the processing time is ten (10) working days.

The period between 20 December and 10 January each year is classified as non-working days with regards to the statutory clock. 

3. Requests for further information

If there is information missing from your application you will receive a request for further information/clarification. When a request for further information is sent the 20 working day period (statutory clock) is stopped and the 'clock' restarts on the next working day after the requested information was received.

4. Referrals to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ)

The council has to notify Fire and Emergency New Zealand - FENZ, about some building projects, particularly if there is to be an alteration, change of use or subdivision that affects a building's fire safety systems. This can include building work on a specified system related to fire safety, such as a sprinkler system or fire walls.

FENZ have 10 working days to advise of any specific fire-related requirements, such as ensuring means of escape. Your application will not be suspended during this time and the council can grant your application if it doesn't receive any information from FENZ within the time period.

Further information regarding the types of applications that must be sent to FENZ can be found on the New Zealand Gazette website.

5. Assessment against relevant legislation

Your application will be distributed to different areas within Council to check for compliance with Council bylaws and other legislation such as vehicle access, earthworks, water reticulation, public drainage, trade waste, building warrant of fitness and backflow prevention.

Our Building Consent Officers will evaluate the various aspects of your building consent application to ensure it meets the requirements of the Building Act, the Building Code and associated regulations. Occasionally, due to complexity or nature of the building design or resourcing, Council may opt to use an external consultant to help with processing. In these situations, the consultant is working on Council’s behalf.

6. Granting of consent

A building consent authority must grant a building consent if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code would be met if the building work were properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications that accompanied the application (Section 49 Building Act 2004).

If the building consent authority is not satisfied the application complies with the Building Code, Building Act 2004 and other relevant legislation, the Building Consent Officer will refuse to grant the building consent. If this occurs you will be notified in writing of the decision and the reasons for the decision.

7. Conditions imposed on consent

Conditions may be imposed on the building consent to ensure compliance with the Building Act.

All building consents are subject to a condition under section 90 of the Building Act 2004 regarding inspection by agents authorised by Building Consent Authorities.

If applicable the following conditions may be imposed on the consent:

  • Waivers and modifications of the building code allow TAs to exercise judgement when dealing with unusual building compliance situations – section 67
  • Conditions placed on building consents granted for building on land subject to natural hazards - section 73
  • Conditions relating to construction of a building on 2 or more allotments noting that the relevant allotments must not be transferred or leased except in conjunction with the other(s) of those allotments – section 75
  • If the building work has a specified intended life, the consent must specify certain conditions that must be complied with at the end of that specified life (for example, alteration, demolition or removal) – section 113(2)


8. Request to no longer proceed with a building consent

If you do not want to proceed with your building consent you must submit this in writing, prior to the building consent being granted. You will receive notification that your request has been actioned. This must be put in writing to: Building Services, Waitaki District Council, Private Bag 50058, Oamaru 9444, or emailed to

You will be liable for all charges incurred up to this point in time.

9. Issuing a building consent

Once your application has been processed and Council are satisfied on reasonable grounds that it meets all provisions of the Building Code, and all necessary fees are paid, it will be granted and a Building Consent and/or Project Information Memorandum (PIM) will be issued.

This issuing process may take a few days depending on demand and these days are not included in the 20 day statutory time frame.

Please note: Work must not begin on the project until a building consent (and resource consent if required) has been granted and issued.

It is very important that you (and your contractors) read the building consent documentation to ensure you are clear about the requirements. Your building consent contains useful information about matters which you need to comply with while undertaking your building project.

You are required to print the approved plans and specifications and keep the hard copy on site.

The Building Consent Inspection Schedule will also contain a list of inspections required to be made by Council officers during the building process and a list of producer statements required from specialists. The identified specialists must provide documentation of the inspections they undertake in support of their producer statement.

Work must start on your project within twelve (12) months after the date the consent was issued. You may apply for an extension of time to start work. However, if a resource consent is required, work can only start when this has been granted.

You have two years to complete your building work, starting from the day the consent is granted, unless you agree otherwise with your council.

10. If your plans change

All building work related to a building consent must be done according to the plans, specifications and detail provided with the approved building consent. If you want to change part of the project, you need to apply for an amendment to the building consent. The process of requesting an amendment is the same as applying for the original consent. You need to provide full construction detail of any changes, so we can assess them. Council needs to approve the amendment before you can carry out any work. 

Reference link: Making changes to your plans (

11. Lapsed consents

Section 52 of the Building Act 2004 requires that a Building Consent shall “lapse and be of no further effect” if work has not commenced within 12 months after the date of issue, or any further period allowed by the Building Consent Authority.

For this reason, we send out a monitoring letter at eleven (11) months advising the nominated contact person that this point is nearing and that we have no record of the work commencing. The letter asks the contact person to either advise that work has commenced, or alternatively, apply for an extension to the 12 month period. If no response is received, the consent will be given a status of “Lapsed” meaning that a new consent will be required for any future work.

Please note: All correspondence will be sent to both the owner and agent.

12. Requesting more time

You can request an extension of time for a building consent if:

  1. You are unable to commence work twelve (12) months from issue date of the building consent; or
  2. You are unable to request a Code Compliance Certificate two (2) years after the building consent is granted.

An extension of time application can be made through the BUILD portal or in writing to the Team Leader, Building Services, Waitaki District Council, Private Bag 50058 , Oamaru, Otago 9444.

This may be done by the builder on the owner’s behalf, but responsibility remains the owner’s. The extension of time request should include the following information:

  • building consent application number
  • project location
  • progress to date
  • anticipated completion date

Note: Extension of time requests will incur a fee. Please see our current fees and charges

Download Guide to complete the Extension of Time form (PDF, 184KB)

13. Compliments, Complaints and Determinations 

If you have any queries, concerns or complaints about the consent process or decision (to grant or otherwise), please see the information on Compliments, Complaints and Determinations.