Building Consent Process

Building Consents & Project Information Memoranda (PIM's)

In this section

Lodging application

You can lodge your application to Timaru District Council either via our online system or in hard copy. Hard copies can be delivered to the Timaru main office or to the Temuka and Geraldine service centers. If posting please address to, The Building Unit PO Box 522, Timaru 7940, with the appropriate application form(s).

Checking application for completeness (vetting)

The application will be initially checked (Vetted) to see if there is sufficient information to fully process your application. If not, you will be required to provide further information before the application can be accepted.

The approval process (detailed checking of plans and supporting documents, checking by other council units and authorities)

The Council is required to "Grant" a Building Consent within a statutory 20 working day timeframe, once the consent has been accepted for processing. In the case of a Multi Proof Approval application the Granting of this consent is required to be within 10 working days.

The plans will be assessed to ensure they comply with the New Zealand Building Code.

Within this period Units within Council other than the Building Unit may assess the project for compliance with various legislative requirements such as the Timaru District Plan, Resource Management Act, Fire and Emergency NZ Act, Heritage NZ Act, Council Bylaws etc. The council units that will check your application are known as Planning, Drainage & Water, Trade Waste, Roading and Environmental Health. The involvement of these units depends on the scope of the project. If you propose to undertake an internal alteration it would not be assessed by other Units unless it was a Heritage Building or place. However, all new buildings/dwellings or additions will require assessment by other units.

External Contractors

Dependent on workloads, from time to time the there is the need to use an external contractor to process consent applications. External contractors are able to log into the Timaru District Council system and process application in the same way as council staff.

Fire & Emergency New Zealand (FENZ)

Some consent applications will need to be reviewed by Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

Under Section 46 of the Building Act 2004 the BCA is required to send certain applications to Fire & Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to review and provide advice relating to "means of escape from fire" and "the needs of persons who are authorised to to enter the building to undertake fire-fighting". Where this occurs the FENZ have 10 working days in which to provide their advice / memorandum to the BCA.

Types of applications that are required to be send are detailed at

Requests for further information (RFI's)

On completion of the technical checking of your application, there may be uncertainty around compliance with the building code. Should this be the case a "Request for Further Information" (RFI's) will be sent to the applicant and the application will be suspended until that information is provided in full. A "stop the clock" system is used during the suspension to keep track of the 20 working day time period. This allows the 20 day clock to stop when the information is requested and to start again when the complete information is received.

It is important to note that if many RFI's are identified, council has the discretion to "Refuse to Grant" your consent. Therefore council encourages anyone that wishes to submit an application to ensure they have sufficient knowledge and competency to provide compliant information, which in turn will reduce councils time and costs relating to your consent.

Granting your consent

Council may decide to grant your consent once the plans and specifications have been assessed and they comply with the New Zealand Building Code, this is what is referred to as being "satisfied on reasonable grounds". Now the application can be "Granted" and the PIM (if this has been applied for and not already issued) and an invoice are prepared. The "stop the clock" is actioned and is not lifted until the consent has been paid in full. When this happens the approved plans are uplifted and the building work can commence.

Some building consents may include conditions. These conditions could relate to the specified intended life of the building eg - 25 years instead of 50 years or relate to the effects of natural hazards, eg - erosion, falling debris, subsidence, inundation (flooding), slippage or the requirement of a Resource Consent to be obtained. Please ensure that you read the consent documents to make sure you are aware of these conditions, applicable to your consent before starting the building work.

The requirement of a Resource Consent from either Timaru District Council or Environment Canterbury, may impact on your ability to start the building work, so please check these carefully.

Refusing to Grant your consent

Council may decide to refuse to grant your consent application. The reason for this decision is that the owner or applicant has not provided sufficient information for council to establish compliance with the building code. In other words council can not be satisfied on reasonable grounds.

Council staff will work with the owner and or applicant throughout this process, however discretion to refuse to grant an application, if compliance with the building code is not established, can be made at any stage of the approval process.

Publish Date: 28 Mar 2014