Whatever your building project, if a building consent is required the building work will need to be inspected for compliance. Inspections ensure that each stage of the building work meets the requirements of the approved plans and specifications. Inspections occur at regular stages throughout the building process and allow the Building Officers to gather enough information to issue the Code Compliance Certificate when the project is completed.
A list of inspections requirements for each inspection will be included in your Building Consent. Please read these before you start any building work. As owner/agent, it is your responsibility, to let the Council know when these stages have been reached. Phone your Council to arrange an inspection time. The building contractor or person managing the building project may do this on your behalf, but it is your responsibility to ensure that these inspections do occur.
Allow at least 24 hours’ notice for an inspection, but if no available inspection appointments are left, the inspection will have to be booked for the next available time which could be several days later. If the building industry in your district is very busy, you may have to wait longer.
NOTE: Make sure you have provided Council with the names of all the LBPs who will be doing or supervising any restricted building work because, without these names, an inspection cannot be booked. LBP Notification form.
Please supply the following details when you book your inspection:
- Building Consent number
- Site address
- Type of inspection
- Contact phone number of person on-site
Inspections require a contact person
If possible it is useful if the contact person (e.g. builder, site manager, owner or agent) is on-site for all inspections. Access to the building site must be provided. A full set of approved Building Consent plans and documents must be on-site and available for the Building Officer to check. The inspectors will bring the necessary tools required for the inspection.
Be ready for Inspections
Check that you are ready before you book the inspection.
- If work is not ready to be inspected, the officer will either fail the inspection or walk away and not carry out the inspection. In either case, you will have to book another one. If you are not ready, please cancel the inspection so that the time slot can be used by someone else.
- If the work does not comply with the approved plans and specifications, it will be failed.
- Repeat inspections will incur additional costs.
- Inspection Checklists are available online for you to use. Each is a ‘ready-reckoner’ available for the builder to use to check that all the required work is compliant with the approved Building Consent documents. All items on the checklist, big or small, must be compliant in order for the Building Officer to pass the inspection. So it’s a good idea to use these lists to check that you are ready for an inspection before you book it, thus saving time for both yourself and Council.
- Have you arranged for access to the building, or building work, so that the building officer can carry out the inspection? This includes safe access to ‘off-the-ground’ areas.
All building officers have undertaken Site Safety training so that they can recognise existing hazards and remain safe while carrying out their duties. They are required by Council (under the Health and Safety at work Act 2015, to take reasonable care for their own health and safety. As a consequence, if the officer perceives the building site to be dangerous they can refuse to carry out the inspection until the risk has been removed or mitigated.
During an inspection, the building officer checks that the construction complies with the approved plans and specifications for the building consent. They note down their findings on inspection checklists (paper or electronic). These go on the property file when they return to the office. At the end of an inspection, they will give you either: a copy of this checklist, a memo or site instruction, a receipt or verbally inform you of the outcomes of the inspection.
If an inspection has failed because of the work incomplete or non-compliant, this will be communicated to you via a memo, site instruction or an email. Another inspection will be required to inspect the remedial work.
If building work is completed but not compliant, a Notice to Fix may be issued. A Notice to Fix is a formal notice issued by the Building Consent Authority (Council) advising that certain works have not been carried out in accordance with the Building Code. If a Notice to Fix is issued you are legally required to address the issues identified within the prescribed timeframe to prevent further enforcement action being taken. You have 28 days to comply with a Notice to Fix. Where there are serious health and safety risks, a shorter period of time may be stated.
All Building Consents for new dwellings and existing building require that you install smoke alarms throughout the building. This will be checked during processing and inspections. The Building Code allows smoke alarms to be battery powered and not interconnected. However, they must have a ‘hush’ facility with a 60-second minimum duration and they should have a test facility (usually a button or switch) that is easily accessible.
Smoke alarms must be listed or approved by a recognised authority as complying with at least one of the following standards: UL 217, ULC S531, AS 3786 and BS 5446 Part 1. Smoke alarms must be located on the escape routes on all levels within the house and be located in areas where people sleep, either in every sleeping area or within three meters of every bedroom door. The alarms must be audible to sleeping occupants on the other side of the closed door. Smoke alarms are to be installed on or near the ceiling, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Final Inspection and Code Compliance Certificates (CCC)
All Building Consents require a final inspection, to check that the completed building complies with the approved Building Consent Documentation. As soon as you are certain that the building project has been completed, book a final inspection with the Council that issued the building consent. Remember to allow time for the availability of inspectors.
Once the final inspection has been passed, apply for the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC). A Code Compliance Certificate is issued by a Building Consent Authority as a requirement under section 95 of the Building Act 2004. To apply for a CCC:
- Complete the CCC application form (Form 6). The application must be made by the owner as soon as possible after the project has been completed. Passing the final inspection signals that all the work required by the building consent has been completed.
- Supply all of the third party certification paperwork that has been requested as a condition of the building consent e.g. producer statements, as-laid plumbing/drainage plans, specified system installation/certification certificates (if relevant). These documents provide additional information that the officer considers in making the CCC decision.
- The following documents MUST be included with the application for CCC:
- Any energy certificates (electrical and /or gas) otherwise Council can refuse to issue a CCC under s94(3) of the Building Act 2004
- All records of work if the project involved restricted building work. These MUST be supplied when the CCC is applied for otherwise the Council could refuse to accept the application. (s92 of the Building Act 2004)
- If development contributions were required for this building consent, make sure that these are paid otherwise Council can refuse to issue a CCC under s94(4) of the Building Act 2004
Prior to lodging your application for CCC, Council will be checking that the documentation required by the building consent has been received and covers all the building work and is complete and that all fees have been paid. The application for CCC can then be lodged and processed. If further investigation raises any issues, they may stop the 20 day CCC clock and request further information. The clock does not start again until the officer is satisfied that the information requested has been provided and that it is adequate.
The building consent authority will issue the code compliance certificate if it is satisfied, on reasonable grounds,
- that the building work complies with the building consent; and
- in a case where a compliance schedule is required as a result of the building work, the specified systems in the building are capable of performing to the performance standards set out in the building consent; or
- in a case where an amendment to an existing compliance schedule is required as a result of the building work, the specified systems that are being altered in, or added to, the building in the course of the building work are capable of performing to the performance standards set out in the building consent.
If the project is a commercial building with specified systems, the Compliance Schedule will be issued on the same day as the CCC.
If no application for CCC has been made within two years since the Building Consent has been issued, the Council must decide within 20 days of the 2-year deadline whether to issue or not issue a CCC. However, if the owner realises that they are not going to complete the project before the two year anniversary they can apply for an extension of time.
Obtaining a CCC is very important as
- Sale and purchase contracts are often conditional on a CCC having been granted and the deciding factor in the sale and purchase of a property.
- Not having a CCC may also affect your household insurance.
Buyers who obtain a LIM will check whether or not the building(s) matches the information in the LIM.
- Has further work been carried out?
- Is the work consented or illegal?
- Has the work been signed off as compliant with the building consent?
- If the work does not have a CCC, there will be no CCC recorded on the LIM.
If you want to sell your property check that any building consent projects have been completed, inspected and that a CCC has been obtained for the project. If you haven’t check these when you originally bought the property without getting a LIM, you may not realise that there is an outstanding building consent listed against the property.
It is wise to get a LIM and address any issues well before the property goes on the market.
When can I occupy my building?
If a building is intended to be open to members of the public or is being used by members of the public (regardless of whether a fee is charged or not), the owner must not use or permit the use of, any part of the premises that is affected by building work. This applies if
- a building consent is required for the work, but no building consent has been granted for it; or
- if a building consent has been granted for the work, but—
- no code compliance certificate has been issued for the work; and
- no certificate for public use has been issued for the part; or
- if a building consent has been granted for the work, and a certificate for public use has been issued for the part, but—
- no code compliance certificate has been issued for the work; and
- the certificate for public use has been issued for the part subject to conditions that have not been complied with.
A premises or part of premises may be affected by building work—
- whether or not the work has been completed; and
- whether the work is being or has been done to or in, or involves or involved the building of,—
- the part itself; or
- some other part of the building that the premises comprise or form part of.
A person who fails to comply commits an offence under section 362W – 363 of the Building Act 2004 is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $200,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $20,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence has continued.
However, in some circumstances use of the premises may be allowed if the owner who has a building consent for the work, (but not a code compliance certificate), applies for a certificate for public use. The territorial authority (your council) may issue a certificate for public use for the premises or part, if and only if, satisfied on reasonable grounds that members of the public can use the premises or part (as the case may be) safely. The territorial authority may place conditions on the certificate for public use which the owner must comply with.
Obtaining a certificate for public use does not relieve the owner from the requirement to apply to a building consent authority for a code compliance certificate after all building work under a building consent is completed.
Public buildings include:
- Shopping malls
- Camping grounds
- Garages and workshops
- Funeral homes
- Office / retail complexes
- Rest homes, etc
Code Compliance Certificates and the Building Act 1991
The owners of buildings with building consents issued under the previous Act may not have applied for a Code Compliance Certificate at the time of project completion. Councils back then were not required to chase up the owners to complete the work or to apply for the CCC.
Councils still get inquiries about getting a CCC for these properties. But because of the period of time that has passed and concerns about the durability of some building systems and products used back then, it is up to the Council whether or not they are prepared to issue a Code Compliance Certificate. With these CCCs, there is a limitation on what it will cover. If you are in this situation, make an appointment with your local Council to discuss what is achievable.