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Building Overview

Covid19  Protocol Update

Building Team at Alert level 3 (1st September 2021)

This level allows staff to continue working from home where possible with the following functions to be performed (BAU functions) remotely include:

  • Code Compliance Certificates
  • Invoicing
  • Loading
  • CCC / Lapsed letters
  • Data Cleansing
  • Audits/QA work
  • Vetting of applications (BC & CCC)
  • Technical checking of applications (processing)
  • Booking inspections (limited)
  • LIM’s
  • EPB assessments
  • BWOF’s and compliance schedules

Functions unable to be performed remotely or with limited capacity:

  • Compliance work (BWOF Audits, Pools inspections)
  • Building advisory office (remotely only - emails and phone)

Building Inspections at alert level 3

We are able to book and perform inspections during alert level 3, however there are specific restrictions and protocols that must be followed and maintained at all times:

  • You can now re-book an existing inspection or a new inspection in the usual way, however you will be asked a number of questions to ensure the site is safe for the inspection to take place.
  • Each building site will be assessed by the inspector to ensure the inspection can be performed safely, including maintaining a 2.0m distance from anyone else at all times.
  • Inspection staff will ensure they follow council's protocols that are in accordance with MBIE guidelines.
  • Inspection staff must also follow all other site protocols imposed by that company or site supervisor.
  • There must not be any contact with members of the public until alert level 2 has been imposed.
  • The use of photos to verify compliance can only be used on a case by case basis with prior approval from the building team.

Please remember this is not us working as you would normally expect due to the many protocols  and safety measures in place  at this alert level, so please be patient and we will get through this together.

New inspection schedule to meet industry demand

Timaru District Council is making some changes to how it delivers building inspections to better serve booming demand.

The construction industry has seen a significant increase in the amount of building work across the whole country recently, including in the Timaru District, and the current method of scheduling appointments was at risk of introducing delays.

From the 1 August 2021 building inspections will be carried out in a more scheduled manner, offering a higher level of certainty for the industry.

The service days for inspections will be:

Timaru Urban areas

  • This area will continue to have three officers inspecting five days a week
  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays there will be an additional two officers performing inspections
  • A full range of inspections types can be performed on any day

Temuka, Geraldine and rural areas north of Opihi River

  • These areas will have two officers performing inspections on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.
  • A full range of inspections types can be performed on these days.

Pleasant Point and rural areas south of Opihi River

  • These areas will have officers performing inspections on Tuesdays and Thursdays, only.
  • A full range of inspections types can be performed on these days.

Council Building Control Manager Jayson Ellis said that the increasing workload had increased the pressure on council to maintain its preferred levels of service.

“However, the demand is inconsistent throughout the District,” he said.

“Some areas are experiencing significantly more growth and for others the growth trends are more consistent.

“Since January, we granted 503 consents and these took an average 23 calendar days to process from receiving the application to approval, with an average of roughly six to eight inspections per consent.

“We are conscious that we need to reduce the wait times for inspections and to facilitate and enable the growth in areas with the highest need.

“These changes are intended to meet both of those aims. We will be continuously monitoring changes to work patterns and resourcing needs to ensure we have an efficient service and are able to meet the expectations of the local industry.”

The below map will help with identifying where you work within the different inspection areas.

Applying and submitting Building related applications

  • You first need to create a user login in the Simpli portal (only once)
  • You will need a login to the Simpli portal if you are submitting an application or any supporting documentation throughout the consent process.
  • To create your application go to the Simpi website login, choose the local authority (Timaru DC) and then the type of application
  • If you have any questions the Simpli website has lots of guidance to help you through the application and submission process.
  • The types of applications you can make through the portal include Building Consents (BC), Project Information Memorandum (PIM), Amendments to BC’s, Certificate for Public Use (CPU), Code Compliance Certificates (CCC) and Certificate of Acceptance.

Building Platforms & Site Works

The excavation and or backfilling of soils on an allotment (“site work”) for the purpose of creating a building platform is defined as “Building Work” by the Building Act 2004 section 7. Many of these situations require a building consent to be obtained before you can carry out that work. Unfortunately, over the years there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation as to what does or does not require a consent, and who is allowed to authorise that work.

One common example of when a building consent is required, but not limited to:

  • Any site preparation that involves cutting and or filling of an area on an allotment for the purpose of constructing or relocating a building in that area.

Examples of when a building consent may not be required, but not limited to:

  • Building up a site for landscaping purposes only
  • Clearing a site, making it more presentable for sale
  • Disposing of clean fill/soils onto a site to level it up (hollows or elevated sites providing you are not altering a natural water course)

NOTE: (remember to consider if a building could be located on the site in the future)

It’s vitally important we (industry and council) have a shared understanding and appreciation of this work to reduce the need for any enforcement actions, rework or worst case scenario, removal of all site works and starting again.

Please refer to the latest advice within the June 2021  Got It Nailed news letter

Reinforcing Substitution Guidance 

There has been lots of debate and confusion around the use of 1/D16 as a substitute for 2/D12 bars in concrete footings. Therefore to ensure clarity relating to this matter, the building team in conjunction with BRANZ structural engineers have provided the following advice:

The basis of this advice is on the cross section areas (mm2) of the reinforcing bars.

NZS 3604


2-D12 = 226 mm2

1-D16 = 201 mm2

3-D12 = 339 mm2

2-D16 = 402mm2

The above chart shows a 1/D16 has not quite the same area as 2/D12, however the BRANZ engineers believe this to be (in engineering terms) close enough, whilst the other option is clearly ok.

So this means that when designing your building that is within the scope of NZS3604, you may specify an “Alternative Solution” to the 2/D12 horizontal bars in the footing and foundation designs as follows.

  1. You may specify a footing/foundation design with 1/D16 horizontal bar instead of 2/D12 bars as a substitution ("alternative solution"); or,
  2. You may specify a footing/foundation design that is in accordance with NZS3604 (ie 2/D12 horizontal bars) as an “acceptable solution”.


  • The option of 1/D16 instead of 2/D12 will only be considered by the Timaru District Council building team as an alternative solution, providing the overall buildings design is within the scope of NZS3604, for example site must achieve the definition of “good ground”.
  • This alterative solution does not relate to any designs from NZS4229.
  • Any footing/foundation designs outside these standards will require specific engineering design (SED).
  • The creation of any building platforms require SED and must form part of a building consent. In most of these situations, the footing/foundation designs will also require SED.

Building Advisory Office

The Building Advisory Office is a free service providing building advice and is available to any member of the public, trade or industry without appointment.

This service provides a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help with any building related enquiry and can also connect you with other council staff when required.

The office will be open for you to discuss your questions or issues between;

  • 8.30am – 10:15am

  • 10.45am-3.15pm

  • 3.45pm-4.45pm

You can also phone the office (03 6877236) at any time between 8.30am to 4.45pm or you can email the office and we will endeavour to reply to your enquiry within 24 hours.

The building team are committed in providing the best advice and service for our community and we encourage you to take advantage of this free service.

Last updated: 10 Sep 2021