Apply for a Building Consent

To apply for a building consent, you will need:

  • A recent (no more than 3 months old) copy of Certificate of Title – MDC can obtain a copy of your title for an additional charge or $20 if required.
  • Plans (A3 Landscape – single PDF file)
  • Specifications including supporting design and/or engineering reports (A4 Portrait – single PDF file)

You will then be able to apply online through Simpli or by paper application with the relevant form »

Note the council applies additional administration fees to paper consents and printing. Work cannot start until the building consent has been granted.


When you need a Building Consent

Even though the Building Act specifically says buildings are not to be constructed, altered, demolished or removed without consent, there are exemptions to this.

Some projects are exempt from the requirement to obtain a building consent. Work that is classed as exempt under Schedule 1 of the Building Act does not require a building consent — however it must still meet the relevant Building Codes to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose.

View a full copy of Schedule 1 

Some examples of works that don’t require a building consent are:

  • Constructing a small outbuilding of less than 10m² that is its own height away from the nearest boundary.
  • Updating your bathroom — provided the work stays in the same room, and the number of fixtures does not change.
  • Moving a non-load bearing wall.

In addition, any building which requires new vehicle access must be approved. Contact the Council Asset and Operations Department on 06 370 6300 to discuss this. A detailed plan showing the location of the proposed access will need to be supplied with your application.

If you decide that your building works fall under the scope of Schedule 1, no Building Consent is required (however you can still chose to obtain one if you wish).

If the proposed work falls outside the scope of Schedule 1, then a Building Consent is required.

In general, you must have a building consent before you start any building work, including;

  • Building, repairing or altering a house, accessory building over 10m² or commercial building.
  • Heating and ventilation work.
  • Plumbing and drainage work.
  • Swimming pools, spa pools and pool fencing.

Please note this is only a small sample of works that require a building consent — if you are at all unsure, please talk to your builder, designer, or a member of the building team here at Council by calling 06 370 6300 or dropping into 161 Queen Street between 11 and 2.

What is RBW and who are LBPs?

If the building work is connected to the main dwelling (ie house alterations or a new dwelling), it will likely be considered ‘Restricted Building Works’ (RBW). This is work that has to be undertaken by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP).

LBPs are licensed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This ‘restricted building work’ applies to:

  • Foundations;
  • Framing;
  • Roofing;
  • Cladding;
  • Tanking;
  • Active fire safety systems in small-medium sized apartment buildings and
  • All design associated with the above.

It is the owner’s responsibility to check that the tradespeople doing and or supervising the work are LBPs. An exemption is available to owner-builders allowing them to carry out Restricted Building Work (RBW) on their own home and build their own home.

There are conditions for this, details can be found in the document Obligations and Responsibilities of Owner-builders and Their Building Project (PDF, 64KB).

Building consent applications are not accepted unless they include a Memorandum-Certificate of design work from an LBP certifying that the design work complies with the Building Code. LBPs will also need to provide a Memorandum – Record of Building Work when the work has been completed.

How do I lodge an application?

Apply via the Simpli portal or by paper application with the relevant form »

Note the council applies additional administration fees to paper consents and printing. It is important to ensure that the designer provides site and project specific documentation that clearly shows building code compliance. Poor quality applications may delay your consent.

How is my application processed?

All applications are vetted for completeness and fee assessment. This is not a technical check, however your application may be rejected at this time if insufficient information has been provided. Once the application has been accepted, an invoice will be raised. It is extremely important to use the correct reference when paying the invoice. The consent will be lodged on receipt of payment and the 20-working day statutory clock starts.

The application is then allocated to the various disciplines necessary within the council for processing, i.e. Building, Planning, Health etc. Each discipline will review your application and assess it for compliance against the requirements of the Building Act /Regulations and the District Plan. Any queries raised during this process are listed and forwarded to you via the Simpli portal as a Request for Information (RFI), a reminder will also be sent by email. All correspondence between the council and applicant is recorded within the Simpli portal, email responses will not be accepted. If the original application was through paper, paper responses will be accepted.

The statutory clock will be suspended if an RFI is generated and will restart once an adequate response has been received. Requests for additional information will be sent to the person identified for correspondence on the consent application. Clouding the area of drawings that have changed in response to an RFI will help speed up the processing of your consent, written responses are also required in Simpli and the revised plan can be referenced. Once all disciplines involved in the process are satisfied, the building consent can be granted.

Your application may be refused, in this unlikely case a letter will be sent advising you of the reason. The granting of the consent demonstrates that the building consent authority (BCA) is satisfied on reasonable grounds that if the project is constructed in accordance with the approved documents the project will comply with the Building Act and Building Code. After the consent is granted it is passed to our Regulatory Administration team for issuing, you will receive a notification via email that your consent documents are ready to download from Simpli or pick up if you have requested printing (additional fee).

How long is my Building Consent valid for?

The Building Act provides that if work to which the consent relates hasn’t started within 12 months from the date of the issue of the consent the consent will lapse and be of no effect. This means that you will need to apply for a new consent. If a CCC application has not been made by the 2 year anniversary of the grant of the building consent, the BCA is required to make a decision on whether or not to issue a CCC. In either case the BCA will try to contact you to remind you of these provisions. If the project has been delayed, you may apply for an extension to this time.

How much will my Building Consent cost?

This depends on the type of application, cost of work involved and the level of detail provided. Charges are based on the length of time it takes to process an application, the number of inspections and complexity of the work. Additional to building consent fees levies are also payable to MBIE and BRANZ on all building work over $20,000.

See our schedule of fees or collect a copy from Council offices at 161 Queen Street. Fees can be paid at the office or by internet banking.

If you choose to withdraw your building consent application once processing has started, you will be charged for time spent and administration costs.

If your building consent application is refused once processing has started, you will be charged for time spent and administration costs. The BCA may charge additional fees for processing time where an unreasonable amount of time has had to be spent processing the consent or for additional inspections.

External Parties

Some commercial projects may need reviewing by the Fire and Emergency New Zealand – Fire Engineering Unit. They have 10 days to provide feedback. Your fire designer should notify you of this, if needed, and this should be clearly identified in the consent documentation. In some cases, the BCA may send applications externally for review, in particular for engineering or fire peer review. When busy, the BCA may also send consents to external contractors to process your consent.

Multi-proof Approvals

Multiproofs are issued by the National Multiple-Use Approval Service of the MBIE. A multiproof certificate from the Ministry identifies that a specific set of building plans and specifications comply 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.

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