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 get a copy of your title for $20.
  • Plans (A3 Landscape – single PDF file)
  • Specifications including supporting design and/or engineering reports (A4 Portrait – single PDF file)

You can apply online through Simpli or by paper application with the relevant form »

The council applies additional administration fees to paper consents and printing.


When you need a Building Consent

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

Some projects are exempt from needing a building consent but it still needs to meet the relevant building codes to make sure it’s safe and fit for purpose.

View a full copy of Schedule 1 

Some examples of work that doesn’t need 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 as long as the work stays in the same room, and the number of fixtures doesn’t change.
  • Moving a non-load bearing wall.

Any building that needs new vehicle access has to be approved. A detailed plan showing the location of the proposed access will need to be supplied with your application. You can call the Asset and Operations Department on 06 370 6300 to talk about this. 

If you decide that your building falls under the scope of Schedule 1, you don’t need a building consent.

If the proposed work is outside the scope of Schedule 1, then you will need a building consent.

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

  • Building, repairing or altering a house or 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 probably be considered Restricted Building Works (RBW). This is work that has to be done by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP).

LBPs are licensed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). RBW 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’s the owner’s responsibility to make sure the tradespeople doing or supervising the work are LBPs. An exemption is available to owner-builders that lets them 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 »

The council applies extra administration fees to paper consents and printing. It is important to make sure the designer provides site and project specific documentation that clearly shows building code compliance. Poor quality applications might delay your consent.

How is my application processed?

All applications are checked to make sure they’re complete and to calculate the fee for the consent. This isn’t a technical check but your application might be rejected at this point if there isn’t enough information.

Once the application has been accepted an invoice will be created. It’s extremely important to use the right reference when you pay the invoice. The consent will be lodged when payment is received and the 20-working day statutory clock starts.

The application is sent to the different teams at council for processing, i.e. Building, Planning, Health etc. Each team will review your application and assess it against the requirements of the Building Act and the District Plan. Any questions that come up during this process are sent to you via the Simpli portal as a Request for Information (RFI), a reminder will also be sent by email. All correspondence between council and the applicant is recorded in 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 put on hold if an RFI is created, the clock will restart once the question has been answered. An RFI will be sent to the person that’s listed for correspondence on the 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 the teams involved in the process are satisfied, the building consent can be granted.

Your application might be refused, if this happens a letter will be sent to tell you of the reason. After the consent is granted it is given to our regulatory administration team for issuing, you will get an email to say that your consent documents are ready to download from Simpli or pick up if you have requested printing.

How long is my Building Consent valid for?

Work needs to be started within 12 months of consent being issued. If it doesn’t start within a year the consent will lapse. This means that you will need to apply for a new consent.

If a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) application hasn’t been made by the 2 year anniversary 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. On top of building consent fees, there are also levies that need to be paid to MBIE and BRANZ on all building work with a value 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, by internet banking or through our online payment portal.

If you choose to withdraw your building consent application once processing has started, you will be charged for any time that’s already been 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 can charge additional fees for processing time where an unreasonable amount of time has been spent processing the consent or for additional inspections.

External Parties

Some commercial projects might need reviewing by the Fire and Emergency New Zealand – Fire Engineering Unit. They have 10 days to provide feedback. Your fire designer should tell you about this and it should be clearly identified in the consent documentation. In some cases the BCA might send applications externally to be reviewed, in particular for engineering or fire peer review. The BCA might also send consents to external contractors to process.

Multiproof Approvals

MultiProofs are issued by the National Multiple-Use Approval Service of the MBIE. A MultiProof certificate from the Ministry shows 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 get a building consent each time they want to build the design that the MultiProof relates to. 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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