Got it nailed - August 2019

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Published: 06 Aug 2019

TDC // Got it nailed // August 2019

Issue 32 - August 2019

Building Platforms & Site Works

Often the first stage of a building project, especially on an empty lot, is to level the site and create a “building platform”. Many of these platforms either cut into the sloping site or are built up by additional soils or metals and compacted to create that level platform.

This type of work is defined as “building work” under the Building Act 2004 and must be approved by Council (as part of a building consent) BEFORE the work is undertaken. In most situations an engineer’s design and producer statement will be required to verify compliance.

Therefore if you are the main contractor or an Earthworks contractor, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are carrying out this work in accordance with the building consent, which means that you need to sight the approved plans before you do anything.

PLEASE BE AWARE that carrying out building work without a consent can result in hefty penalties so please ensure you are doing the right thing.

Retaining Walls
As the name suggests these walls retain stuff, for example the ground, buildings, drive ways etc and can be located anywhere. The design of a retaining wall is to be carried out by a Chartered Professional Engineer and will require design and producer statements.

A building consent is required for any retaining wall greater than 1.5m in height (from its supporting ground) and for any retaining wall that is subject to a surcharge. A surcharge is the additional force applied to the retaining wall from either a building in close proximity, a drive way or some other load (your engineer will determine this).
New subdivisions (in particular residential) can include retaining walls strategically located around some or all of the sections. Generally this is not an issue, however once a dwelling is erected, these retaining walls may become subject to a surcharge and or require a barrier if the fall is 1.0m or more, as they are now associated with a dwelling.

So as you can see, what initially started out as a simple retaining wall has the potential to develop into something more than what was considered in the first place. Therefore if retaining walls are associated with your project please make sure you do your homework on the requirements that are applicable for your situation.  

Pre-Application is the key!

As an industry you'll be aware of the documentation required to be provided with each application, but what do you do when you’re unsure?

A good idea is to involve other experts in design areas that you may not be familiar with, e.g. fire, structural or geotech engineers, complex claddings, plumbing and drainage, ventilation or hazardous substances. Our industry has many specialisms, and it is important that you make use of this knowledge and experience.

Once you believe that you have some or all of the info needed, I would encourage you to arrange a “Pre Consent” meeting, especially for those more complex projects. To arrange a meeting you can contact the Building Advisory Officer by calling 03 687 7236.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When completing your application either online or in hard copy, please ensure that your design is sized to fit pages of A3 size (max), as anything bigger proves to be time consuming to process as you can only view a small amount of the information at any one time, therefore potentially increasing the consent cost. 
Once you are ready to submit your application please take the time to check it over, ensuring that you are providing all necessary information before you submit it to Council.

You can access more info from these pages:

Where Is My Consent At?

Some of you will have had consent applications submitted to Council and then have been put on hold for varying reasons, for example RFI’s or the owner wants to change the scope of the project etc. This can sometimes mean that the application sits around in limbo, waiting. Therefore we would like to get these applications to a conclusion one way or the other which will mean contacting the applicant after 60 days (from being put on hold) to determine whether we can grant the consent or refuse it. 

You can follow the progress of your consent application via the Timaru District Council website at

Your Consent Needs You!

Do you know if all the consents relating to your property have been signed off (CCC issued)?
A Code Compliance Certificate or CCC is one of the most important documents you can ever have. The CCC is confirmation that your building work has been completed in accordance with your consent.
There are many consents within our district that do not have their CCC issued and yours may be one of them.
A number of issues can arise from having no CCC, these can be anything from insurance claims being denied to Council refusing to issue CCC.

The building owner is ultimately responsible under the Building Act, however if you have been contracted by the owner to deal with the consent you have certain contractual responsibilities as well. Therefore it is very important that an application for CCC is submitted to Council as soon as practicable once the building work has been completed so we can get the consent process completed.

Producer Statements

Producer statements have an important place in the building and construction industry. These documents (an alternative solution) can be used as a means of compliance and a tool for the Building Consent Authority (BCA) to be satisfied on reasonable grounds. However they are not a “given” as the BCA will only accept them in certain situations and if specific criteria have been met.

Please make sure that when you submit a producer statement, or you incorporate it with the building consent application, they are completed in full, identify the relevant code clauses, has a design summary, an inspection/monitoring schedule and that the author of the statement is suitably qualified and authorised to provide it.

Refusing a Building Consent

The Building Unit are looking at reviewing its policy on refusing building consents. The review outcome is designed to reduce any unnecessary time and money relating to the technical checking process of an application.

Unfortunately many applicants have been using this process, including the requests for further information (RFI’s), to effectively have the BCA peer review their designs and tell them what else they need to provide. Additionally we as Building Control Officers will be reviewing how we craft our RFI letters to ensure they can be interpreted better by the recipient. All of these issues have slowed the process down making it less efficient, less effective and costlier.

More information of this review will be sent out and published on the Timaru District Council website once completed, however if you have suggestions or ideas on how this might work best for you then please email . We intend to collaborate with other local Councils so we can achieve a more consistent approach. Once we have compiled all the info we will be conducting workshops with local designers and builders on how this process will be carried out and what it will mean for you.

Building Warrant of Fitness Audits

Auditing BWOF’s is an important process, “checking the checkers”, that ensures building owners and IQP’s are meeting their obligations, thus ensuring people will be safe while they are working in or visiting that building. These audits may be undertaken as regularly as once a year or as appropriate according the complexity of the buildings use. The audit will involve an onsite inspection of the building and a review of the maintenance records for those specified systems your compliance schedule.

Sections 100 to 108 of the Building Act 2004 outline the owner’s obligations to ensure that a compliance schedule is accurate, that the inspection maintenance and reporting procedures are fully complied with, and that records are available at the time of the Council’s onsite audit inspection. These sections of the Act also identify the consequences for the building owner should any non-compliances be identified from the audit.
During the onsite audit inspection the Council officer will be checking;
  • The current and signed Warrant of Fitness Certificate (form 12) is displayed in a public place on site;
  • That the owners inspection manual is present, has the compliance schedule attached, is up to date and has the completed owner inspection records;
  • Evidence of two year’s worth of “inter-year” inspections from all the IQP providers. This will mean a list of completed monthly / 3-monthly / 6-monthly inspection reports of the systems as listed on the compliance schedule.
Note: These are important as this is where many audits fail
The auditor will also walk through the building to ensure that the compliance schedule is accurate to the systems in the building. The officer is likely to check consent records to ensure that systems installed have been undertaken with the appropriate approvals. Unconsented systems will be subject to a Notice To Fix and or a Certificate of Acceptance process.
You may wish to have your IQP present at the audit.
Section 108 of the Building Act 2004 Infringement offences and fees
A person commits an offence if the person:
  • Fails to supply to the territorial authority the building warrant of fitness; or
  • Fails to display a building warrant of fitness that is required to be displayed under this section; or
  • Displays a false or misleading building warrant of fitness; or
  • Displays a building warrant of fitness otherwise than in accordance with this section.
A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000.

Other updates


It’s finally here!! You can now get access to 120 New Zealand standards and these are FREE for you to down load. This is a great step forward by MBIE to try and make the pathway to compliance easier for all.

Some of the standards include: NZS 3604:2011, NZS 4229:2013, NZS 4121:2001, NZS 4218:2004, to name a few.

You can access these standards by going to Standards New Zealand website
We are well underway with the three year cycle of inspecting the safety features of pools and pool fencing. There are approximately 470 pools within our district that require an inspection by Council and we are well on track to ensure they are all inspected by January 2020.

If you are a pool owner and you have been contacted by my team you will be aware of how this process works and if not we will be in contact with you within the next 12 months. To help with this process it is a good idea to check out your pool fencing to make sure that it is compliant prior to the inspection.
For details of these requirements you can visit;

The Timaru District Council has recently completed its latest round of information workshops with two being held in Timaru and one each in Temuka and Geraldine. These has a great attendance with many good questions put to the various presenters.

We are now starting the process of identifying priority buildings that are potentially earthquake-prone and contacting their owners with the local emergency agency and school buildings first of the rack. These will be followed by the buildings in Geraldine, Temuka, Pleasant Point and then Timaru with all of these building owners contacted by July 2022.

If you are a building owner and you have questions on how this process will affect you, please feel free to contact Jonathan Craig on 03 687 7264 or  and he will be able to provide the help and guidance you will need.

Getting to know the building team

Administration Assistant – Nicholle Hills
I started working at the Timaru District Council in 2015 doing a variety of administration roles within the Environmental Health Group.
Since late 2016 I have been with the Building Unit in the Administration team. The team carries out a number of different tasks to do with Building Consents.
We are also involved in the processing of the building related information for LIM reports. I really enjoy working alongside the team (the fantastic five!).
Every day brings new tests but we are always up for the challenge!

Administration Assistant – Mikaela Karton
I have been with the Building Unit for nearly three years now, working as an Administration Assistant.
Starting off with a twelve month contract, I became full time in mid-2017 and since have learnt many different things associated with my position and the Building Unit.
I’m thoroughly enjoying my role and am grateful to be amongst a great, supportive team.

Administration Assistant – Jenna Campbell
I have been with the Building Unit in administration for approximately three years, having started in the Environmental Services unit. Working in the building regulatory environment is very different from my previous roles and I have learnt a lot in my time within the unit and enjoy working amongst a great and supportive team.

Administration Assistant – Madison Read
I have been with the Timaru District Council for almost two years, starting with a fixed term   contract as a student in the Human Resources Department and also the Records Room. I am   now full time and have a permanent role as an Administration Assistant in the Building Unit   which I have been doing for a year now and really enjoy working in the building environment.

Administration Assistant – Kirstie Wilson
I am the newest member of the Building Administration Team, starting in October 2018.  I come   from a retail background so I know the importance of great customer service and getting things   done on time. Since my time with the Building Unit, I have learnt a lot of new skills and   information and am beginning to understand the Building lingo and the many acronyms. Our   team works well together and there are always a few laughs had at our end of the office.

Building Advisory Office

The Timaru District Council’s Building Advisory Service is a unique and valuable free service that is available to the public during normal business hours, five days a week. The purpose of this service is to provide information relating to buildings and building consent matters.

The staff have a vast range of knowledge and if they can’t immediately help with your enquiry, they will investigate and get back to you promptly. You can contact the Building Advisory office on 03 687 7236 or email or you can come into the Councils main building on King George Place during normal business hours, no appointment necessary.

Service Consents (connecting to council infrastructure - water - sewer - stormwater)

Council has undertaken improvements to the linkages between Building Consent and Infrastructure Services Consent processes. 

Why Change?
In the past these two consenting processes have run independently of each other.  This means a building project could obtain a CCC without necessarily complying with other regulatory requirements for the project.  This may result in delays at time of sale of a property due to the Infrastructure Services Consent either not being obtained, physical works not being satisfactorily completed or outstanding documentation not being supplied.

What does this mean?
Council will now be including an Infrastructure check as part of the CCC process to ensure that items identified on either the Building Consent Supplementary Information or the Project Information Memorandum have been complied with.

How will this affect you?
In some cases the issues of non-compliance will be notified and will continue to be resolved independently (for example formation of vehicle access).
In the case of connection to public infrastructure (water, sewer, stormwater), instances of non-compliance will be required to obtain “Infrastructure Compliance Certification” prior to issuing the CCC for the Building Consent.  This is enforceable under Clauses G12.3.2 and G13.3.3 of the Building Code.
For any further questions relating to this you can contact the Infrastructure Consents Team on 03 687 7200.

Final Thoughts
"If possession is nine/tenths of the law,
then perception is nine/tenths of reality”
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