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Building Consents

If you’re planning a new building or an alteration in the Masterton district, you might need a building consent. You might also need to apply for other consents or permits so it’s a good idea to read this page and get in touch with us if you have questions.

You can apply online for a building consent through Simpli.

If you are applying for a building consent, check the District Plan to see if you will also need a Resource Consent. Although parts of this plan are still under appeal, most of it can be treated as operative.

Building Consent Processing Delays

We want to let you know that we are currently receiving a high number of building consent applications, which is causing a delay in our processing times. Consenting teams around the country are struggling to keep up with demand. There simply aren’t enough qualified people available to process consents and inspect building work.


We have a growing backlog of applications, which means processing times are extending beyond the statutory timeframe of 20 working days. We understand that people need certainty to move forward with their plans and we apologise for the inconvenience and impact on your projects.

What are we doing?

  • We are maximising staff workload and redeploying resources where we can to try to get through the work.
  • We are recruiting more building consent staff.
  • We are currently using contractors to process applications, but this is limited as they are also at capacity.

What can you do to help?

  • Please plan ahead, you may need to allow more time than normal to complete your build.
  • When completing the application, please ensure you complete all fields thoroughly and provide any required supporting documents.
  • At lodgement stage, please ensure you correctly load documents through the Simpli portal.
  • Provide prompt responses to any request for information letters (RFI) we send. In your response, please include a list of the changes you have made, relevant pages only and all changes marked with a cloud for easy identification.
  • We are also asking that you don’t block book inspections in advance or book before you’re ready.

We know delays are frustrating, we are doing all that we can to maintain an acceptable level of service. Thank you for your patience.


The Building Act

The Building Act 2004 regulates building work, a licensing regime for building practitioners, and the setting of standards, to make sure that:

  • people can use buildings safely and without endangering their health;
  • buildings contribute appropriately to the health, physical independence, and wellbeing of the people who use them;
  • people can escape from the building if it is on fire; and
  • buildings are designed, built, and used in ways that promote sustainable development.

The Act means that anyone wanting to do certain building work has to get a building consent from a Building Consent Authority (BCA) before they start. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have a guide for when a building consent isn’t required.

Building Code Standards

The New Zealand Building Code has national standards for building construction, including structural integrity, weather tightness, durability, drainage and water supply. When considering consent applications, the Council makes sure that the planned, and the completed building work, meets the Building Code.

The current New Zealand Building Code is the First Schedule to the Building Regulations 1992. It has 36 clauses containing technical requirements and two clauses of general provisions. It is what is referred to as a performance-based code. This means there is more than one way to achieve a performance standard.

Documents produced by MBIE identify the ‘Acceptable Solution’ as one way of achieving compliance. You can also use what is known as an ‘alternative solution’ to achieve compliance.

Building Consent and the District Plan

A building consent is a formal approval issued by a BCA that says certain works, if built to the plans and specification, will comply with the New Zealand Building Act, Building Regulations and the Building Code. You can’t do any building work that needs a building consent without this approval. Most building work needs a consent but some minor work is exempt under Schedule 1 of the Act

A building consent lets you build in accordance with the consent and any other plans and specifications. It doesn’t give any form of planning approval under the District Plan. It is your responsibility to find out whether your proposal is allowed under the District Plan; you can contact the Council or your own planning advisor for help.

You might need resource consent(s) as well as your building consent. We strongly advise you to get the resource consent you need before you apply for a building consent to avoid expensive changes.

Benefits of getting a Building Consent

Getting a Building Consent before you start work is a legal requirement for most projects. As well as avoiding fines, there are lots of other benefits.

Getting a consent makes sure your building complies with the quality and safety standards of the Building Code.


When you sell your house, the buyer will probably request a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) on your property. The LIM shows all the permits and building consents issued for your property. The purchaser might ask you to bring un-consented works up to Building Code standard before completing the sale.


There may be insurance consequences where damage results from unconsented building, plumbing or drainage works.

Building on land subject to natural hazards

The land you want to build on might be prone to natural hazards like flooding. We will consider if the work is major or minor and what effect the work might have on the hazard. The consent could be refused, granted subject to a condition that a natural hazard notification is placed on the title (This will incur additional fees) or no other action might be needed.

We will talk you through the refusal or notification process if this relates to your consent.

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