Click on the headings (below) to access information quickly
Safe and Sanitary Inspections
With the introduction of the Building Act 2004 the service of providing what has been commonly known as “Safe and Sanitary Inspections” has been discontinued. There is no longer the ability to make an application to Council for this service. Council is bound by the Building Act 2004 and has a role to ensure the health and safety of the public, with regard to buildings, is always maintained. If you are aware of a situation that you believe compromises the health and safety of building users then you need to refer the matter to your local Council at the earliest date. Also, refer to the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Sea Spray Zones
Septic Tank Size for a New Dwelling
Please contact the Building Unit of your local Council as the required tank size depends on house size/number of bedrooms etc. An Engineer will design the correct size septic tank for your dwelling and provide the documentation with your Building Consent application for review by a Building Officer.
Setbacks to boundaries
See FAQ for Garden Sheds
See FAQ Containers as storage sheds
Refer to Contours on site plans
Smoke alarms need to be in every sleeping space or within 3 meters of every sleeping space door and shall be located on escape routes. They must have a hush facility with a minimum duration of 60 seconds. Smoke alarms may be battery powered and are not required to be interconnected. See Smoke Alarms page.
NOTE: Council cannot issue a Code Compliance Certificate for work under Building Consents issued from 28/4/2003 until smoke alarms have been installed and inspected. This includes all Building Consents.
Soak-holes and Stormwater
How many do I need to put in?
One per 60 square meters of roof area. This will be calculated and provided by your designer with the Building Consent application.
How deep should they be?
A minimum of 1.8 meters deep, design to be provided with your Building Consent application.
For Hamilton property owners:
See also Plumbing & Drainage (in FAQs section).
Solar Water Heating
See Solar Installations page.
Specified Intended Life
Specified intended life, in relation to a building, means the period of time (less than 50 years), as stated in an application for a building consent or in the consent itself, for which the building is proposed to be used for its intended use.
A territorial authority may grant a building consent with specified intended life only if the consent is subject to —
(a) the condition that the building must be altered, removed, or demolished on or before the end of the specified intended life; and
(b) any other conditions that the territorial authority considers necessary. (See s113 Building Act 2004)
An owner of a building must give written a notice to the territorial authority if the owner proposes to extend the life of a building that has a specified intended life. A person commits an offense if they fail to do so. They are is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000. (See s114 Building Act 2004).
The owner of a building with a specified intended life must not extend its life without the written consent of the territorial authority. This applies if there was a condition that the building must be altered on or before the end of the specified intended life. The territorial authority must not give its consent to the extension of the life of a building unless satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the building—
(a) has been altered in accordance with the condition; and
(b) complies with section 112 of the Building Act 2004
These are listed systems or features of a building that give ease of exit or access, escape from fire, and define other safety aspects. Refer to Specified Systems, Compliance Schedules, and BWOFs.
Staged Consents and when they can be used
Section 44(2) states that a building consent may be staged, that is it can be split up into a series of building consent applications. This may be useful where the scope of the work can be clearly defined in each case. For example:
- Large multi-storey buildings
- Multi-unit apartments or development blocks
- Large public buildings such as shopping malls and hospitals
- Site works, foundations and drainage, with the balance of work completed under a separate stage (this situation might occur where it is desirable to start the project early but where plans and calculations have not been completed for the balance of the work)
In these situations, it may take some time to complete the entire project, but it may not be practicable or desirable to wait for all work to be completed for final payment or occupation.
For public buildings, the Building Act Section 363 states that it is an offense to use public premises that are affected by building work and have not had a code compliance certificate issued. But where an owner wishes to occupy each stage of the building as it is completed, they may apply to the Territorial Authority for a Certificate for Public Use. This will avoid the owner being in breach of section 363 of the Act.
For residential buildings, the Building Act Section 364 states that it is an offense for a residential property developer to transfer ownership of a household unit before a code compliance certificate has been issued. But if the developer is building a block of units they may wish to sell each unit on its completion rather than waiting for the whole block to be completed. In this situation staged contents – one for each unit would mean that a CCC could be obtained for each unit, allowing the developer to sell each unit rather than wait until the whole block was completed. (This information comes from the MBIE website and MBIE guidance T-15 to BCAs)
Storage – Shipping Containers as Sheds
Subdivision of a Building
This refers to the situation where a building or part of a building is subdivided. Please refer to
- section 224(f) of the Resource Management Act 1991
- section 116a of the Building Act 2004: Code compliance requirements: subdivision
Subdivision of Land
If I sub-divide my section how big does the new lot need to be?
This depends on the zoning. Please contact the Planning Unit of your local Council for more information.
See Sustainable Buildings page
See Pool Fencing and Pools: Swimming Pools, Spa Pools and Portable Pools (FAQ’s)
Territorial Authority (TA)
A Territorial Authority (as named in Schedule 2, Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2002) is your City or District Council who are responsible for community wellbeing and development, environmental health and safety (including building control, civil defence, and environmental health matters), infrastructure (roading and transport, wastewater, water/storm water), recreation and culture, and resource management including land use planning and development control. All of the eight Council’s in the Waikato Building Consent Group are accredited Building Consent Authorities.
Timeframes for Building Consents
A Building Consent Authority must process a Building Consent application within 20 working days. However, the clock can stop to request further information and will start again once the building officer is satisfied that the information has been supplied.
Once a Building Consent has been issued, the applicant has one year in which to start the project. After 1 year, if the building work has not started, the approved Building Consent lapses and is no longer valid. You will need to apply again. If you need an extension of time, you must apply for the extension BEFORE the 12 months is up.
Application for a final inspection and CCC must be made as soon as practicable after the project has been completed. Providing the Council is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the completed work complies with your approved Building Consent documentation, the Council will issue a CCC. If not, the Building Officer will inform you of what needs to be fixed in order to pass the final inspection. A CCC must be issued within 20 working days of application for a CCC, provided the project passes the final inspection and all required documentation has been received. If the work fails this inspection another application for a CCC must be made. If work has not been completed within two years of the Building Consent being granted, the BCA will follow this up and must make a decision whether to issue or not issue a CCC, unless an extension has been agreed to between the owner and the Council. Obtaining a CCC is important.
All timber in contact with the ground needs to be H5 treated (50-year durability requirement of the NZ Building Code). This includes house piles, veranda, and deck posts that are embedded in concrete or posts for carports. For further information, check out the BRANZ website for timber treatment.
Trade waste is any liquid that is discharged from trade premises to a Council’s wastewater system in the course of any trade or industrial process. Discharging trade waste to the wastewater system places an additional load on the system. To protect the wastewater system and the environment, Council needs the help of businesses, to provide trade waste that can be safely accepted and treated. Trade waste that is discharged directly into council wastewater systems without pre-treatment, can cause blockages, overflows, introduce hazardous substances which can be a health risk to the public and could discharge into a nearby stormwater drain, or river systems. For more information about the requirements of your Council and application forms see:
- Hamilton City Council
- Hauraki District Council
- Matamata Piako District Council
- Otorohanga District Council
- Thames-Coromandel District Council
- Waikato District Council
- Waipa District Council
- Waitomo District Council
See also additional information on Water, Waste Water, Trade Waste & Stormwater page.
Urgent work is work that is required to be carried out for the purpose of health issues or to prevent serious damage to a property e.g. waste water drains. The property owner must apply for a Certificate of Acceptance as soon as practicable after completion of the building work. See also Certificate of Acceptance page.
A vehicle crossing is the section of driveway that connects the front property boundary to the roadway and includes any crossing constructed over a footpath, curb, berm, water channel, or drain. See Vehicle Crossings.
“A Verification Method is a design method that can show a design complies with Building Code requirements. It is often a test or calculation method. A specific design that follows and meets the requirements of a Verification Method must be accepted by a Building Consent Authority as complying with the related Building Code provisions.” (Quote from MBIE website on “What is a Verification Method?”)
Warrant of Fitness
Wastewater and Stormwater Pipes
Can I build over wastewater or stormwater pipes? Yes, (over internal pipes, not Council pipes) but you must meet the requirements of the Council. Check with the Utility Unit of your local Council.
- Can I build over manholes or service connections? No.
- See Water, Waste Water, Trade Waste & Stormwater page.
Water Connections (Utility connections)
Who do I see about connecting/disconnecting to the water mains?
Please contact your local Council for further information.
See Weathertightness page.
Weathertight Homes Resolution Service
A service established to help owners of buildings who have suffered damage to their properties due to water ingress. See the Building System Performance (MBIE) website for further information on this service.
A wind zone refers to the wind forces that act on a building on a particular building site. The wind zone is calculated using a complex calculation by the designer or engineer producing the building plans after a site visit. See Wind & Sea Spray Zones
Means any day except Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign’s Birthday, Labour Day, Waitangi Day, the day observed in the appropriate area as the anniversary of the province of which the area forms part, and a day beginning on 20 December in any year and ending with the close of 10 January in the following year.
Limits prescribed by town planning or building bylaws to describe areas which are set aside for specific uses or interests, for example, high-rise, residential or industrial.