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No Building Consent is required to erect a pergola provided it does not have roofing material fixed to provide shelter. However, it still needs to comply with Building Code and District Plan requirements.
Before embarking on a building project, check to see whether or not you will need approval from the Planning Department of your local Council. See also Planning Approval page(s).
Plans and Amendments to an Approved Building Consent
- See FAQ Amendments to an Approved Building Consent or FAQ Changing and amendment of plans
- For examples of minor and major changes see the MBIE website, Building (Minor Variations) 2009 legislation, and MBIE guide to amendments.
Plans and Specifications
- Plans and specifications form the basis of any building contract between builder and owner, and substandard plans and poor specifications may lead to litigation.
- Specifications must be specific to the building project and be provided as part of the Building Consent application. Specifications that are not specific to the project will be rejected. For example, a house application recently received had specifications that included trade waste, urinals, and different types of hot water cylinders and building systems that were clearly NOT on the plans. This type of specification would be rejected.
- The clearer the documentation you provide, the smoother the application process will be. The use of a professional building consultant, draughtsperson, or architect is recommended (see Registers of Designers & Tradespeople). The plans must be clear, readable and have sufficient information to allow assessment against the performance requirements of the Building Code and the requirements of the District Plan. An Applicant Checklist is provided with your Building Consent application form, or you can download both (see Forms & Checklists). It is important that your designer takes the time to check that all the necessary information is included on the plans. If information is missing the application may be rejected or the processing of the Building Consent delayed (the 20 working day processing clock stops) until this information is provided by the applicant. Save yourself delays by making sure that all the necessary information is provided at the time of application (see also Increasing Productivity page)
Plumbing and Drainage
Plumbing and drainage work usually requires a Building Consent.
Why do I have to stipulate what plumbing system is to be used?
They have very different falls/gradients and venting requirements. It is absolutely vital that a system should be chosen prior to design of the plumbing/drainage system so that the system can then be reviewed by Council.
Where can I position my soak hole?
3 meters from all buildings and boundaries.
Do I have to use a registered plumber / drain-layer?
Yes, if the fixture of a pipe is connected to sewer/waste pipe etc. The only exception is an outside hose tap, as it has no waste pipe connected to it.
Who can do a percolation test and size a soak hole?
A registered Drain-layer or Hydraulic Engineer. The Council has their own design for up to 40m2 of roof or driveway area.
How do I do a percolation test?
You don’t, please employ/contract a Drain-layer or Engineer (see PDG register on the Registers of Designers & Tradespeople page).
Why do I need to provide a drainage longitudinal / isometric plan?
So it can be easily assessed that the required falls/gradients will be achieved for that particular drainage/plumbing system.
Plumbers and Gasfitters and Restricted Building Work
Pools: Swimming Pools, Spa Pools, and Portable Pools
Swimming pool fencing, including other fences that form part of a swimming pool fence (e.g. a boundary fence or the wall of a building), must comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and Building Act 2004 (both Acts can be viewed at the New Zealand Legislation website). Some Councils also allow the use of the Alternative Solution NZS 8500.
Does my swimming pool or portable pool need to be fenced?
If your pool is able to hold a depth of 400mm or more then you will require a Building Consent for a pool fence.
Do I need a Building Consent for my portable spa pool? Yes.
Does a solid lockable spa pool cover count as a fence?
No, however, some Councils accept them as a suitable replacement for a fence. Your Council believes that a small child could unlock the cover and gain access to the pool. Please check with your local Council before going ahead.
What height does a swimming pool fence have to be?
A swimming pool fence must be 1.2 meters above ground level, and gates or hinged doors must have a self-closing device, with a latch 1.5 meters above ground, the gate must open away from the pool.
See Pool Fencing
Pre-application / Pre-lodgement Meeting
This meeting is to discuss the proposed project and the information that will be required for the application. It is very important that the person attending the pre-application meeting is familiar with the designs, the terminology, and can discuss the issues and work associated with them. In the long term, this meeting can save the owner/agent time and money by ensuring that all eventualities are covered with respect to the Building Code and the site on which the building project is to occur prior to submitting the Building Consent application.
Some Council requires a pre-application or lodgement meeting with the owner/agent. Please check with your local Council. Even if this free service is not a requirement of your local Council, you can choose to make an appointment to discuss your project and get some advice prior to application.
A statement expressing the author’s view that plans, specifications, or completed works comply with the technical requirements in order to comply with the provisions of the Building Code or Building Consent. The statement will be in the form of a certificate or statement signed by the author (a recognised specialist such as engineer or architect). It is up to the Building Consent Authority (Council) to decide whether or not to rely on such a statement. See Producer Statements & Memoranda templates, Producer Statement Checklist, and Authors.
Product Certification and Appraisal Certificates
Project Information Memorandum (PIM)
Protection from Fire
See the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods for Protection from Fire (C/AS1-C/AS7 and C/VM2)
MBIE have developed a list of FAQs so that the answers to common questions can be shared openly. These FAQs are continuously updated as part of our on-going monitoring of the implementation. The FAQs are split into the following sections:
- Acceptable Solution’s C/AS1 – C/AS7 interpretations
- Verification Method C/VM2 interpretations
- Procedural issues
Record of Work (ROW)
At the completion of the construction project, a Record of Work (form) must be provided by all licensed building practitioners who carried out or supervised any work that is restricted building work. For more information, go to Licensed Building Practitioner page.
Re-siting a Building
If you are thinking about moving a new or second-hand house/building onto a section you need to involve the Building Control team at your local Council right from the start. The building will need to be inspected to see if it meets the Councils requirements and whether or not it is structurally sound. See Demolition, Removal or Re-siting. Note: a Resource consent may e required.
A Resource Consent is a permission from your local Council for an activity that is restricted or controlled by the rules set out in the District Plan. Local Councils have direct responsibility for the day-to-day management of resources in their territories and create plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 that set out objectives, policies, and rules to manage activities that may affect the environment. If you plan to build or use your land with activities that are not permitted “as of right” in the District or Regional Plan, or exceed the rules of the district or regional plan in some way you will need to obtain Resource Consent. See Resource Consents. Please check with the Planning Unit of your local Council for further information.
Resource Management Act 1991
The Resource Management Act 1991, often called the RMA, is the main piece of legislation that sets out how New Zealand’s environment should be managed. The Act’s purpose is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. The Act is based on the idea of the sustainable management of resources, which is mainly achieved by the requirement for Territorial Authorities to prepare plans to help them manage the environment in their area. It is these plans (District and Regional Plans) that tell people what they can or cannot do with land on which they are building. You can read the RMA on the New Zealand Legislation website.
Restricted Building Work
Restricted Building Work (MBIE definition), must be done by a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP). Registered Architects and professional Chartered Engineers are deemed to be LBPs. See the guidance document from MBIE, and Licensed Building Practitioner Scheme.