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)
The council applies additional administration fees to paper consents and printing.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 sort of information do I need
Building consent applications can be complex. We recommend that you work with a professional to help with the design work and drawings. Every application needs to have the information requirements listed in the application pack, this includes:
Certificate of Title – 1 copy – no older than 3 months old. Please include any Consent Notices listed under Interests.
Plans – (one complete set)
Site Plan – Scale 1:200 (recommended scale). The site plan must show the proposed building work in relation to the property boundaries, existing buildings, drainage and water supply systems, spot levels and datum.
Floor Plan – Scale 1:100. To be fully dimensional, including wall and partition sizes, designation of rooms, doors and window openings, sanitary fittings, fixed units, appliances such as wood-burners, cooking and heating units.
Cross Section – Scale 1:50. To show full details of construction of foundations, reinforcing, floor structure, wall and roof structure, insulation and height above ground level.
Elevations – Scale 1:100. Four elevations of the proposed building are required to show all doors, windows, roof heights and external materials and finishes.
Drainage Plan – Scale 1:200. To show means and location of sewage and stormwater disposal systems and any existing drains on site. Water supply details must be shown. (Only a certifying
plumber/craftsman drain layer or licensed person working under their supervision can carry out plumbing/ drainage works.)
Details – Scale 1:5. These are generally structural and weathertightness details to show how the critical elements of the building work are to be constructed.
Specifications (1 complete set) – Specifications must be relevant to the particular building and to the plans submitted. They must give a full description of the type, size and grade of materials to
be used, and the method of construction, including other trade section.
Snow Loads and Wind Zones – The Masterton District can have extreme weather conditions that must be taken into consideration for all building undertaken with the district. Please refer to Appendix 1 and 2 at the end of the document for guidance on snow loads and wind zones. Please contact the Building Team on 06 370 6300 if you have any questions.
Engineering calculations/fire report (if applicable) – (one complete set) If designs are from a CPEng engineer a site/project specific PS1 will be required.
Alterations to existing buildings – Under section 112 of the Building Act, a BCA must not grant a building consent to alter all or part of an existing building unless it is satisfied that, after the alteration, the building will (among other things) comply as nearly as is reasonably practicable (ANARP) with the Building Code provisions relating to means of escape from fire and access and facilities for persons with disabilities. Section 112 of the Building Act also gives TAs some powers to allow alterations to existing buildings. (if you intend to change the use of the building different provisions apply)
To determine whether an existing building will comply ANARP with Building Code requirements for means of escape from fire and access and facilities for persons with disabilities after the proposed building work has been carried out, BCAs and TAs will need information on the building’s current level of compliance.
Wall bracing layout (if applicable) – (1 set)
Roof truss (if applicable) – (1 set) Manufacturer’s Truss Design and Producer Statement.
E2 risk matrix (demonstrating weathertightness features) – (1 set).
H1 analysis (demonstrating insulation requirements) (1 set).
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:
- 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?
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. If you’re emailing an application, please consider using a tool like dropbox or wetransfer to send large files. Always follow up your submission with an email requesting confirmation of receipt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is a Building Consent Authority
Building consent authorities are regional or territorial authorities or private organisations registered under section 273 of the Building Act 2004 and are responsible for performing building control functions under Part 2 of the Act.