A guide to when do I need a Building Consent?

When is a Building Consent required?

A Building Consent is required for most work including:

  • swimming pools, spa pools and fencing;
  • retaining walls over 1.5 metres (no surcharge);
  • retaining walls any height incurring a surcharge;
  • decks over 1.5 metres high;
  • pergolas, awnings, verandas and porches that sit outside the criteria of Schedule 1 (refer below);
  • free-standing buildings that sit outside the criteria of Schedule 1 (refer below);
  • plumbing and drainage work;
  • demolition;
  • relocation of buildings;
  • additions, alterations to existing buildings;
  • new buildings;
  • change of use (may include an increase in occupant numbers);
  • heating including fireplaces that sit outside the criteria of Schedule 1 (refer below);
  • ventilation and air-conditioning systems (commercial);
  • solar array panels that sit outside the criteria of Schedule 1 (refer below);
  • installing or decommissioning a septic tank.

Building work that does not require a Building Consent

The New Zealand Building Code 2004 Schedule 1 NZBC, 2004 provides this information.

Application for Exemption of work outside the requirements of Schedule 1 can be made to the Territorial Authority as described under Part 1 Section 2 of Schedule 1.

New Building Work Exemptions Effective 31 August 2020

Additional building consent exemptions are being added to the Building Act. Building consents will no longer be needed for a number of new or expanded types of low-risk building work, like sleep-outs, sheds, carports, outdoor fireplaces and ground-mounted solar panels (certain limitations apply to the above).

Building work that does not require a building consent must still comply with the Building Code and other legislative requirements, such as those under the Resource Management Act 1991, the Electricity Act 1992 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Building work must also meet the requirements of the District Plan.

Full details relating to new building works exemptions can be found under the Government’s new exemptions at building.govt.nz/.

Additional information can also be found on legislation.govt.nz and www.canibuildit.govt.nz 

For guidance or further information please telephone customer services on 0800 727 059.

How long does it take to get a Building Consent?

Building Consent processing time depends on the complexity of your project and whether or not you have provided us with sufficient information.

All Building Consents are required to be approved within 20 working days, however; if information is deficient the statutory time clock is stopped and a formal request will be made for further information. The statutory time clock is not restarted until the requested information is received in full.

It is possible that your Building Consent application requires checking by several disciplines; therefore, the clock may be stopped on more than one occasion.