Exempt Building Work (does not require building consent)

Building Overview

Do I need a building consent?

If you are planning a project that involves demolishing, constructing, or altering a building, it is likely you will need some form of consent before you proceed.  All building work (whether or not it requires consent) must comply with the Building Act 2004 and the Building Code.

You should contact the Building Advisory Office:

email - building.enquiry@timdc.govt.nz or Ph 03 687 7236 or come into the main office, 2 King George Place Timaru, to discuss your project(s).

The Act and the Code are legally binding and, if you breach them or don't obtain a building consent, you may face penalties.

Building work that does not require a building consent (exempt building work)

Schedule One of the Building Act 2004 sets out the building projects that do not require Building Consent, ie are exempt work. If you have questions about the exemptions contained in Schedule One, and after you have read the Exempt Building Work Information Sheet you should contact the Building Advisory Officer as above.

The list below is a summary of, but not limited to, building work that may not need a consent:

  • certain structural building work relating to minor additions, alterations, re-piling, some demolitions
  • plumbing and drainage where the number of sanitary fixtures is not increased including some repair and maintenance)
  • installing an air-conditioning system into a residential  dwelling
  • retaining walls less than 1.5 metres in height or 3.0 metres high in rural area if designed by a chartered professional engineer
  • fences or walls less than 2.5 metres high (all swimming pool fencing is not exempt)
  • decks, platforms or bridges less than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • certain buildings greater than 10 square metres in floor area but less than 30 square meters
  • certain earthworks.

Discretionary Exemption

If your proposed work doesn't fit into any of the exemption requirements, there is an option for you to seek a "Discretionary Exemption". This approval process must be sought (from Council) if you wish to have your building work considered using Schedule 1, Clause 2. There are many considerations pertaining to this process and we have guidance on how this application works. Therefore should you wish to go down this approval pathway, please complete this application form in full, attach all your documentation and submit via email, to the compliance team.

If your proposed work is covered by the clauses of Schedule 1 (other than Clause 2), you may still want to have that work recorded.  This will allow a copy of the exemption and plans to be placed on your Council Building File for future reference, e.g. if the property should be sold and a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) requested, the information will show on the LIM.

Schedule One fees and charges

There are fees and charges that relate to either of these exemption processes. A standard schedule 1 notification is a set fee, while a discretionary exemption process has an initial fee that allows for mostly minor decisions, larger projects may require additional technical checking and time (therefore additional costs) spent on making a decision either exempt or not. Please refer to fees and charges

Please be aware that all discretionary applications will have an applicable fee charged to them regardless of the council decision.

Important note

An exemption, of itself, does not permit building work if that building work would be in breach of any other Act e.g. exempt building work may still require planning approval.

All exempt building work is required to comply with the Building Code.

Last updated: 20 Jun 2024