See Electronic/Online Submissions (only available from some Councils) for further information.
PDF Documents on Websites
Some documents on this website are in PDF format. To open these documents you require a FREE program called Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Acrobat Reader on your computer, it can be downloaded from the Adobe website at no cost.
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) for further information.
Plans and Amendments/Variations to an Approved Building Consent
See FAQs on Amendments to an Approved Building Consent
- For examples of minor variations and major amendment changes see the MBIE website, Building (Minor Variations) 2009 legislation, and MBIE guide to amendments.
NOTE: Don’t be confused by MBIE’s terminology of Major Variation; Major Amendment is the correct terminology.
Plans and Specifications
(Section 7 of the Building Act 2004)
- Means the drawings, specifications, and other documents according to which a building is proposed to be constructed, altered, demolished, or removed; and
- Includes the proposed procedures for inspection during the construction, alteration, demolition, or removal of a building; and
- In the case of the construction or alteration of a building, also includes—
- the intended use of the building; and
- the specified systems that the applicant for building consent considers will be required to be included in a compliance schedule required under section 100; and
- the proposed inspection, maintenance, and reporting procedures for the purposes of the compliance schedule for those specified systems (Section 7 of the Building Act 2004).
- 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 in 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 of 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 in the plans. If the 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)
- For further information see Preparing the Plans and Specifications.
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 the design of plumbing/drainage systems 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
Licensed or certified plumbers and gasfitters can do some restricted building work. See further information.
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 Building Act 2004.
See Pool barriers (fencing)
Practice Notes and Guidelines
- Engineering New Zealand’s Practice Notes and Guidelines.
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.
Privacy / Confidentiality
- Please refer to FAQ for Confidentiality / Privacy.
A producer statement is a statement expressing the author’s view that the plans, specifications, or completed works comply with 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 an 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; Producer Statement Guidelines (Practice Note 1).
Product Certification and Appraisal Certificates
Project Information Memorandum (PIM)
- See Project Information Memorandum for further information.
The pages in this section contain information about
- Contaminated land that could contain hazardous substances in or on the land that are likely to have significant adverse effects on the environment.
- A hazardous substance is generally defined as any substance that is explosive, flammable, corrosive, oxidising or toxic.
- Natural hazard means any atmospheric, earth or water-related occurrence where the action of the hazard can adversely affect human life, property, or other aspects of the environment.
- Building environments – wind zones and seaspray zones that need to be considered when designing a building
- Weathertightness refers to the resistance of a building to the natural weather elements.
For further information please refer to:
- Contaminated Land
- Hazardous Substances
- Natural Hazards
- Wind & Sea Spray Zones
Protection from Fire
See the Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods for Protection from Fire (C/AS1-C/AS7 and C/VM2).
MBIE has 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 ongoing monitoring of the implementation. The FAQs are split into the following sections:
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 further information, refer to ROW process rules (MBIE) and Licensed Building Practitioner page.
Report a Problem
If something is incorrect or not working on this website we would appreciate you letting us know about it so that it can be fixed (see Feedback).
Re-siting a Building
If you are thinking about moving to 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. If you are going to re-site a new building make sure that it has a building consent and that a code compliance certificate was issued in the district where it was built. If it is built in New Zealand then it must comply with New Zealand building law. If it is a second-hand building, the building may need to be inspected to see if it meets the Councils requirements and whether or not it is structurally sound. For more information about building consents and re-siting a building see Demolition, Removal or Re-siting.
See Resource Consents 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 natural and physical resources should be managed. The Act is based on the idea of the sustainable management achieved by the requirement for Territorial Authorities to prepare plans to help them manage the environment in their area. It is these District and Regional Plans that tell people what they can or cannot do with the 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, Licensed Building Practitioner Scheme (Information) and LBPs must provide Certificates of Design Work or Records of Building Work (COW/ROW – MBIE).
Last updated 2019-03-22