Click on the headings (below) to access information quickly
Electrical and Gas Fitting Work (Energy Work)
Electrical and gas fitting is now called Energy Work and is part of the Building Consent if:
- The work relates to a Compliance Schedule item as contained in Section 45 of the Building Act 1991.
- A modification/waiver from the Building Code or any approved documents has been required for the energy work.
- The owner/agent chooses to include energy work in the Building Consent. Please note that gas, plumbing, and electrical work, must be done by a registered professional.
Exempt Building Work
Fees and Charges
Extension of time for starting or completing building work
Starting the building work:
If the building work does not start within 1 year of the Building consent being issued, the building consent lapses and becomes null and void. In other words, you would have to apply for a new building consent after this date if you wish to proceed with the project.
If the 12-month deadline is approaching and it looks like you will not be able to start the project before the anniversary, you can apply for an extension of time. The extension must be applied for and approved BEFORE the building consent expires.
Completing the building work:
If the building work has not been completed within 2 years from the date that the building consent was granted the Building Consent Authority (your local Council) must make a decision within 20 days of this date whether or not to issue a Code Compliance Certificate.
If the 2-year deadline is approaching and it looks like you will not be able to complete the project before this date, you can apply for an extension of time. The extension must be applied for and approved BEFORE the 2-year timeframe has expired.
Fences and Retaining Walls
You can build a fence up to 2.5 meters in height from the supporting ground level without a Building Consent. If you want to build a fence over 2.5 meters, you will have to get Building Consent and Resource Consent. Please contact the Planning Unit of your local Council for more information.
NOTE: As some District Plans restrict the height of fences, especially at the front of properties, it would be wise to check with your Council as to what is allowable in your district, before building the fence.
Does my neighbour have to pay half?
Do I have to find the boundary pegs before building a fence?
Yes, it is the only way to be sure that the fence is built on the boundary. See Boundaries (FAQ’s).
If I build a fence on my side of the boundary do I need to get my neighbour’s permission?
No, not if the fence is less than 2.5 meters in height from the supporting ground level. If they object this is a civil matter, so see Citizens Advice Bureau.
My boundary is next to a Council park. Do the Council pay for half the fence?
Yes, your Council may contribute to a shared boundary fence on such places as Council parks, reserves or car parks. Please contact your local Council for more information.
What height can I build my retaining wall?
You can build a retaining wall without a Building Consent so long as it is no higher than 1.5 meters (and does not support any surcharge or any load additional to the load of the ground). But it must still comply with the Building Code.
For further information, see also Fences & Retaining Walls page.
Fire Engineering Brief (FEB)
Descriptions and explanations – useful links:
- Fire Engineering New Zealand
- IPENZ – Fire Engineering Advisory Taskforce Report and Recommendations
- MBIE’s Building Systems Performance – International Fire Engineering Guidelines
- BRANZ – fire engineering reports and the approval process
Fireplaces / Heaters
What are the national environmental standards for wood burner fireplace units?
“After 1st September 2005 all wood-burners installed on properties less than 2 hectares must have a discharge of fewer than 1.5 grams of particles for each kilogram of dry wood burnt, and a thermal efficiency at least 65 percent” (quote from Ministry for the Environment). For more information and a list of models that meet these requirements go to the Ministry for the Environment website.
NOTE: Not all heaters that are approved are on the list(s). If a model is not on the list a certificate proving that it meets the emissions standard must be provided to Council when applying for a Building Consent.
Do I need a Building Consent to replace an existing fireplace?
Yes, we still need to do inspections on any new fireplace to check that it meets the Building Code and is safe. See Heaters & Fireplaces page. Please note that smoke detectors will need to be fitted to the house if not already installed.
Can I install a second-hand fireplace? No.
How high do the chimney/flue need to be?
Flue height above the roof must meet the height requirements set out in AS/NZS 2918:2001. Refer to the diagram on Heaters & Fireplaces page.
Who can install a fireplace?
Fireplaces can only be installed by installers that are either:
- registered with the NZ Home Heating Association Inc,
- a registered Plumber or
- a heating engineer.
Where a wetback is being installed, a new tempering valve is a requirement, and this work must be carried out by a plumber.
Fire Safety Design
- Guidelines for documenting fire safety designs
- Fire Engineering Brief (FEB)
- IPENZ Practice Note 22
- BC Update 162: Protection from Fire – frequently asked questions
- Who can do Verification Method C/VM2?
PLEASE NOTE: the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has stated that: “Verification Method C/VM2 for Protection from Fire is suitable for use by design professionals with specific fire engineering expertise, such as Chartered Professional Engineers.”
If you are planning to open a food business, the premises must meet the requirements of the regulations with respect to:
- Food Act 2014
- The District Plan
- Building Code – it may require a Building Consent
- Fire safety requirements
- Trade Waste
- Liquor Licensing Inspector
- By-Laws if a mobile shop
- Public Health requirements under the Waikato District Health Board (Ph.: 07 838 2569)
- Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990
- ERMA Test Certifier.
French Doors Installation
If existing windows are being replaced with French Doors and the doors are going to be the same width as the existing windows, and are no higher than the existing windows, then you do not need Building Consent. However, if the doors will be higher or wider, then you will need a Building Consent. If the size of the opening increases or decreases you are required to apply for Building Consent, for external moisture (E2 Building Code).
How big can I build my shed before a Building Consent is required?
Up to 10 square metres (e.g. 3.16 x 3.16 metres, or 2 x 5 metres).
How close can my shed be to the boundary?
Usually, the shed must also be its own height away from any residential accommodation or any legal boundary. But check with the Planning Unit of your local Council.
Guides for Owners
See the page on Guides for Owners under Building Consents.
What level can I have my outside ground levels or paving stone in relation to the finished floor level of the building?
This depends on the type of cladding, and whether the building is habitable or not. If the cladding is brick then the distance is 150mm above un-landscaped ground or 100mm above paving stones.
If any other sort of cladding is used, then the distance is 225mm above un-landscaped ground or 150mm above paving stones. Please check with the Building Unit of your local Council.
Do I need to have my ground levels down before I get my Code Compliance Certificate?
Yes, we need to see the ground levels in relation to the building.
See Hazardous Substances.
Hot Water Cylinders
- If you are replacing like with like, e.g. low pressure with another low-pressure cylinder and no other work is being carried out, then a Building Consent is not needed.
- If you are installing a new water cylinder only and no pipe work, then no Building Consent is required.
- If a high water pressure cylinder is being installed, a Building Consent is required.
How do I find out the size of my house?
Quotable Value holds that information and it can be purchased from their website. Some Council may also have these details recorded on property files as part of a Building Consent application.
How to build guides
These can be picked up from your local building supply merchant or downloaded from their websites. These guides cover the basics of how to build decks, pergolas, retaining walls and other projects.
Remember to check whether or not your project will require a building consent:
Do I Need a Building Consent?