Our Building and Planning teams use legislation like the Building Act and the Resource Management Act (RMA) to make sure Masterton’s buildings and land are taken care of and developed properly.
The Wairarapa Combined District Plan is a plan for managing our resources in a sustainable way. It has maps, objectives, policies and rules that set out the activities that are allowed in the district. It also controls when resource consents and subdivision consents are needed.
Our Wairarapa Combined District Map viewer shows lots of information that relates directly to the District Plan. On here you can find aerial photos, property boundaries, floodplains, fault lines, heritage properties and more. This is a great place to start if you are looking to do any work on your property or if you might purchase a new property.
All the forms and applications you will need are available below.
You might need a building consent if you’re planning a new building or a renovation.
You might need a resource consent if you’re planning to subdivide land or if you’re building a new premises or business.
A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) is a report that tells you everything the Council knows about a property or section.
An owner can apply for a Project Information Memorandum (PIM), this gives information about what requirements might apply to a building project.
There are special requirements for building fences especially along boundaries and around swimming pools.
The Rural Address Property Identification System (RAPID) System is a numbering system for rural properties.
Manager Building and Planning:
Building Services Team Leader
Building Development Facilitators:
Building Development Facilitator (Plumbing & Drainage):
Building Development Support Officers:
Can a building consent be issued before a resource consent?
A building consent can be issued before a resource consent gets approved, but the building consent will have a certificate that says ‘No Building Work may proceed’ (or only limited work may proceed) until the resource consent is issued.
At what size does a building need a building consent?
A ‘building’ is defined in Section 7, 8 and 9 of the Building Act 2004. Look at the definition of Building and Building Work and Schedule 1 of the Building Act, this tells you what work doesn’t need a building consent. It is not just the size of the building that determines whether or not you need a building consent. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to check with us by calling 06 370 6300 or by talking to your Builder or Designer.
You can build a small accessory building (shed, pergola, gazebo, glasshouse, sleepout) without a building consent if the building:
- is under 10m2 in area; and
- contains no sanitary facilities; and
- contains no cooking facilities; and
- is single storied; and
- is at least its own height away from the property boundary and from any residential building on the property or any neighbouring property; and
- is not a spa or swimming pool enclosure or fence.
Even if you don’t need consent, you still needs to meet the NZ Building Code. This includes spouting and storm water control. You will probably need a building consent if it doesn’t meet the above requirements.
For a full list of building works that do not require a building consent, check Schedule 1.
Do I need a building consent to do electrical work in my house?
No. Council is not involved in electrical work.
Do I need a building consent to re-pile my house?
A building consent isn’t required for repairs and maintenance of piles, unless it’s ‘substantial’. The building act doesn’t define what substantial is, but it’s generally accepted that if you are replacing more than 10% of the piles, this would be substantial and you would need a building consent.
Full re-piling also needs a building consent because the structural integrity will be affected, i.e. under pinning, foundation design change, or change of pile layout.
Do I need a building consent if I want to plaster over the brick veneer of my house?
Plaster rendering over brick veneer doesn’t need a building consent. The plaster must not cover the weep holes inset in the bottom brick row.
Do I need a building consent if I’m re-cladding on my house or building?
If you’re repairing the cladding and replacing it with the same materials then you don’t need a building consent, unless the existing cladding hasn’t met the durability requirements of the Building Code which is 15 years. If you’re changing the cladding material e.g. from weatherboards to stucco or some other material, then you will need a building consent.
Do I need a building consent to build a deck on my property?
If the deck is more than 1.5m above the ground you will need a building consent. The deck has to be built according to the Building Code and details like the structure, balustrade and planning requirements will be checked.
What are the building requirements for double glazing?
Double glazing is necessary in most new houses to meet the new glazing R-value of 0.26.
It might still be possible to use single glazing by using a heat loss calculation (Calculation Method – NZS4218:2004) that lets the insulation in one part of a house be traded against the insulation in another part of the house. You should discuss this with your designer because they will be need to provide calculations to show compliance with NZS4218:2004 in a consent application.
My building consent says I have to install smoke detectors. What do I need and where can I get them?
You must have smoke detectors with a ‘Hush’ facility in all dwellings that need a building consent. This includes new buildings, altered buildings, or buildings changed to a residential use. Free standing non-habitable buildings (i.e. garages or sheds) and site drainage don’t need them.
Most single level houses will need at least one smoke detector, but it’s important to think of the whole escape route. If the hallway adjoining the bedrooms leads through another space to the exit door, then that space will need a detector as well. Two storey houses need detectors at both levels, regardless of which level the bedrooms are on.
Consent applications need to have complete floor layouts with room names, doorways and the smoke detectors clearly marked.
Standard smoke detectors that are already installed can stay but ‘Hush’ models also need to be installed. A ‘Hush’ or ‘double button’ smoke alarm has an extra button that lets you turn it off for a short time while you fix the cause of the smoke eg. burnt toast. You can get them at most hardware stores.
Do I need a building consent for my swimming pool?
All pools that hold more than 400mm of water need a building consent. This also applies to the construction of a pool fence.
Do I need a building consent for a carport?
You will need a building consent if the carport is bigger than 20sq m in floor area. A carport that is less than 20sqm and is open on at least one side at all times doesn’t need a building consent.
Can I change my plans later?
Yes, if you need to change anything on your plans, you need to apply for an amendment before you start any changes. At the end of the building project, the approved building consent documentation needs to be an accurate reflection of what has actually been built. Changing the details of the original consent drawings can be done in two ways, either a site variation or an amendment.
If you have made changes without approval, the BCA might stop your job until the changes are fixed. Amendments are for when the work is outside the scope of the original consent e.g. a bigger footprint, different construction method or big changes to the layout. You will need to fill out an amendment form and pay a fee.
Minor variations are changes that don’t usually affect compliance with the Building Code e.g. changes to types of taps, the position of kitchen joinery, and non-structural walls or doors. You might need to record the change but you won’t need to complete a new building consent application form. An inspector might be able to approve this on-site and there might be a cost for this.
What are building consent conditions?
These are conditions on your building consent that are needed to ensure compliance. For example, all building consents are issued on the condition that officers of the building consent authority can inspect work at all times, during normal working hours, or while work is being done. Other conditions might be to do with building on a site that has specific hazard conditions or building over two or more allotments.
What are building consent endorsements/advice notes/reminders?
Building consent documents are often endorsed or have notes added by the consenting authority to remind the building owner about specific parts of construction to meet compliance. For example, if there is a specialist inspection that you need, a note might be added. These endorsements will be noted on the actual consent. It is important that you read and understand all the endorsements before you start work. If you don’t understand any endorsement imposed, please contact us to discuss.
What are multiproof approvals?
Multiproofs are issued by the National Multiple-Use Approval Service of the MBIE. A multiproof is a statement by the Ministry that a specific set of building plans and specifications complies with the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC).
A MultiProof is not, and does not replace, a building consent. The holder of a MultiProof must obtain a building consent each time they wish to construct the design to which the MultiProof relates. The BCA will only need to assess the Building Code compliance of site-specific features that are excluded from the MultiProof, the BCA has 10 Days to issue a MultiProof consent.
Restricted Building Work
What is Restricted Building Work? (RBW)
Building work, whether design or construction, that is critical to the integrity of a residential home or small-to-medium-size apartment.
What is considered to be “critical to the integrity” in this case?
Primary structure, external moisture management systems and fire safety systems.
What buildings are affected by RBW?
New dwellings including additions and alteration to an existing dwelling and residential apartments but only those that are not mixed-use (i.e. do not include a shop, office of other commercial activity in the building).
Other than being a residential building what other rules apply to RBW?
Maximum three stories and a maximum of 10 metres high.
How do I know if RBW is involved at consent stage?
Your designer should tell you that RBW is involved or call the Council and ask to speak to a building officer.
Licensed Building Practitioners
What are Licensed Building Practitioners?
The Licensed Building Practitioner Scheme was created in November 2007. It sets out a process where skilled and/or qualified building practitioners need to show their ability to meet certain competencies to get the status of being a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP). The scheme has seven license classes: Designers, carpenters, roofers, external plasterer’s, brick and block layers, foundation and floor slab. Registered Architects and Plumbers, as well as Chartered Professional Engineers, are all LBP’s.
What is the difference between a designer and a registered architect?
An architect has gained a university degree in their profession and designers have not.
Does a registered architect, chartered professional engineer or plumber have an LBP number or can they use their professional registration number?
These professionals use the registration number given to them under their own statute. All other tradespeople, engineers and designers (i.e. those not registered under a statute) must be LBPs.
I am going to hire a designer, what should I do?
If you are hiring a designer make sure they can do Restricted Building Work. You might want to look at the public register at the Department of Building and Housing.
What if I don’t want to use an LBP to do the work?
From 1 March 2012, it’s an offence for an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise restricted building work and it is an offence to engage an unlicensed person to carry out or supervise restricted building work.
I am not licensed can I do the work?
Owner builders can do Restricted Building Work (RBW) on their own home. You are an “owner-builder” if you:
- Live in or are going to live in the home (includes a bach or holiday home)
- Do the Restricted Building Work on your own home yourself, or with the help of unpaid friends and family members, and,
- You haven’t done Restricted Building Work on any other home within the previous 3 years under the owner-builder exemption.
Most DIY work is usually small repairs, maintenance or alteration work and doesn’t fall under RBW so homeowners can continue to do this work. If you’re an owner builder you’ll need to complete a statutory declaration form to show you meet the criteria. This form will need to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or someone else authorised by law to do so. You will need to send this form with your application or before construction on your new home. There is a more detailed explanation on the MBIE website.
What do I have to do as an owner?
If you do structural work or work that affects the weather tightness of a residential building, then that work may be classified as RBW. Most building plans that need building consent from the BCA will include RBW. Some exceptions include kitchen installation and internal renovation. If it doesn’t involve work to the home’s primary structure or weather tightness, it is not RBW. As the owner you also need to tell Council who the LBPs are that will carry out/supervise the RBW.
If I am not doing RBW, do I still need a building consent?
Yes, quite probably although some work isn’t classified as RBW it will still need a building consent. This might include swimming pools, garages, etc.
I can’t find an LBP what should I do?
Check the LBP register at the Licensed Practitioners website. If you cannot get an LBP, advise the Department by phoning 0800 60 60 50.
Project Information Memorandum (PIM)
What is a Project Information Memorandum (PIM)?
A project information memorandum (PIM) is a memorandum issued by the territorial authority (Council) under sections 32 – 35 of the Building Act 2004 which sets out information relevant to your building work.
This is information on special land features, including potential:
- avulsion (removal of land by water action);
- falling debris;
- alluvium (the deposit of silt from flooding);
It will also show:
The presence of hazardous contaminants that are likely to be relevant to the design, construction or alteration of your proposed building;
Details of stormwater or wastewater utility systems that relate to your work, or are adjacent to your building site.
A PIM also shows any other approvals you might need like:
- Resource Management Act;
- New Zealand Historic Places Trust (heritage buildings/sites);
- Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).
The memorandum also includes:
Copies of other information that might have an impact on your building work like:
- Drainage plans;
- Water supply plans;
- Other utility plans; and/or
- Any other information that Council holds that is relevant to your project.
A PIM doesn’t give any kind of approval under the District Plan or Building Act. You will need to talk to the planning department or your own planning adviser to make sure that your proposal complies with the District Plan. If it doesn’t, and you need a resource consent, we would strongly advise you to get this before applying for a building consent to avoid changes to your proposal that could be expensive.
Do I have to get a PIM?
No, PIM’s are voluntary. They can be applied for separately or in combination with your building consent.
How to apply for a PIM
You can find the application form in our list of forms and applications or you can pick up a hard copy from our front desk.
Send your completed application in an email to [email protected]. If you can’t send your application electronically, give us a call to discuss your options on 06 370 6300.
All applications must be accompanied by a copy of:
- a site plan;
- floor plan;
- building elevations;
- site access; and
- drainage plan.
- How long does it take?
Council is required to issue the PIM within 20 working days of the application being received. In most cases the BCA gathers PIM information in order to process your building consent.
Providing all fees are paid, the PIM will be posted or emailed to the applicant when it is issued. If the PIM is applied for with the building consent, the timeframe for issue of both is 20 working days.
Environment Canterbury »
0800 324 636
0900 5 9090
Institute of Professional Engineers of NZ »
04 473 9444
NZ Homeowners’ Building Guide »
09 360 8885
NZ Homeowners’ Project Workbook – Your Guide to Building a Better Home (order local copy at: www.buildingguide.co.nz or 09 360 8885)
New legislation came into effect in 2017 which sets out a new process for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings. For information on the new process, watch this video or visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
We have a short Question and Answer document (PDF, 413KB).
Complaints can be made by completing our complaints form »
Written complaints can be sent to:
Planning and Building Manager
Masterton District Council
PO Box 444
You have the right to appeal or complain about any decision the Building Consent Authority (BCA) has made.
These might be complaints about:
- meeting statutory timeframes;
- lodgement or vetting of building consent applications;
- processing of building consent applications;
- building inspections;
- issuing a notice to fix;
- issuing code compliance certificates;
- issuing compliance schedules;
- failure to give appropriate information or advice;
- fees and charges; and
- failure to meet legislative or Building Code requirements.
You can make a complaint in person but it must be accompanied by a written statement. A complaint can’t be made anonymously.
What information is required?
- date incident occurred;
- what is the complaint about (guidance information, vetting, lodgement, inspection, notice to fix, code compliance certificate or compliance schedule);
- copies of any supporting information (if applicable); and
- your relationship to the BCA (customer, regulator, or stakeholder).
Anyone who makes a complaint will hear from us within 2 working days to let you know we’ve received the complaint. We will also let you know a timeframe for it to be investigated and for us to respond. We will act on the complaint within 2 weeks of receiving it unless we need to request more information.
You have the right to appeal if you don’t agree with the result and you can request a review of the decision. All appeals need to be made in writing, setting out the reasons why you disagree with the decision.
Appeals should be addressed to:
Masterton District Council
PO Box 444
If you’re still unhappy or decide to use an alternative route, you can seek a determination from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) directly.