Building Consent Process

Building Overview

How do I know if a building consent is required?

All building work constructed in New Zealand must comply with the Building Code (regulations), and many projects will need a building consent.

A building consent is the consent to carry out building work granted by the Building Consent Authority (BCA).

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

  • structural building - additions, alterations, re-piling, some demolitions
  • plumbing and drainage where additional sanitary fixture is created (some repair and maintenance may be exempt)
  • relocating a building
  • installing a woodburner or air-conditioning system
  • retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres (3.0 metres in rural area if designed by a chartered professional engineer)
  • fences or walls higher than 2.5 metres, and all swimming pool fences and associated safety features.
  • decks, platforms or bridges more than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • certain buildings greater than 30 square metres in floor area
  • certain types of earthworks, eg creating building platforms.

If you are still unsure you can check with our Building Advisory Officer, email or 03 687 7236 or come in and talk about your project, no appointment necessary. However for large projects you may want to arrange a pre consent meeting with one of our technical staff to discuss your project and understand more about how compliance with the building code can be achieved.

However if you're doing maintenance, 'low-risk' or minor building work, this may be exempt from requiring a building consent. To know if you building work is exempt please refer to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website:

  • Important note: The information you provide within an application form is required so that your application can be processed under the Building Act 2004. The Council, Territorial Authority (TA) or Building Consent Authority (BCA) collates statistics relating to building work and has a statutory obligation to provide information to third parties. The information is stored on a public register, which must be supplied to whoever requests the information. Under the Privacy Act 2020, you have the right to see, and correct personal information Councils, TAs and BCAs holds about you. All information received and gathered via the consent process is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020.

Exempt Building Work

All building work constructed in New Zealand must comply with the Building Code (regulations), and many projects will need a building consent.

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.

If you are still unsure you can check with our Building Advisory Officer on 03 687 7236, email - or come into the main office and talk about your project, no appointment necessary.

To know more about whether your building work is exempt you can refer to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website:

Important Project Considerations

  • Building Act 2004 - All building work in New Zealand as defined by the Building Act 2004, must comply with the building code
  • Restricted Building Work - You will need to determine whether the proposed work is “Restricted Building Work”, if yes it will need to be designed and constructed by a licenced building practitioner (LBP).
  • Resource Management Act - Does your proposal comply with the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and or the District Plan, if not then you may require a Resource Consent. If you require a resource consent, this must be approved before you can start your building project. This advice will be provide to you either by the PIM, Advice Notes or by a section 37 certificate. RMA requirements have the potential to  have a major impact your project so please ensure you seek advice early in your planning of your project. For further information you can talk to the Duty Planner at the council's main office and or you can visit the Planning info page
  • Heritage Building - Will your proposed work involve an historic place or heritage building. Please discuss this by visiting the Planning web page
  • Infrastructure Services - Are you proposing to connect to any council services eg water, storm water, sewer. If yes a Services Consent is required. Please contact the Infrastructure team
  • Land Transport Unit - Will your proposal affect roads, streets, footpaths, including berms. If yes please contact the Land Transport team
  • Natural Hazards - Your land may be subject to a "Natural Hazard" . Natural hazards include Erosion, Falling Debris, Subsidence, Inundation and Slippage. The most common hazard in the Timaru district is Flooding (from our many rivers). You can contact Environment Canterbury for flood hazard assessments or you may need to engage a Geotech Engineer or a suitably qualified professional to assess the type of hazard and provide a solution in how you can mitigate them. Please ensure you take these hazards into consideration with the design of your project and provide the relevant documentation when you submit your application.
  • Environment Canterbury (ECAN) - you will need to consult with Ecan for certain projects including waste water treatment systems and information on natural hazards. Ecan also have advice on managing building waste and environmental site requirements. For further information please contact Ecan or visit their Best Practice guidance
  • Power Lines - It is very important that you  consider the location of any power lines (overhead or underground) as they will have an impact on the location of your building or building work. For further information on these requirements please contact Alpine Energy as they are the Lines Authority in the Timaru district.

NOTE:The information you provide within an application form is required so that your application can be processed under the Building Act 2004. The Council, Territorial Authority (TA) or Building Consent Authority (BCA) collates statistics relating to building work and has a statutory obligation to provide information to third parties. The information is stored on a public register, which must be supplied to whoever requests the information. Under the Privacy Act 2020, you have the right to see, and correct personal information Councils, TAs and BCAs holds about you. All information received and gathered via the consent process is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020.

How do you apply for a consent?

If you (the building or property owner) intend to carry out building work you must, before the building work begins, apply for a Building Consent or have your agent apply for the consent on your behalf.  It is important that you allow plenty of time  for the consenting process (at least two-three months) as additional information and other considerations and or council approvals may be required. Applications including Building Consents (BC), Project Information Memorandum (PIM), Amendments to BC’s, Certificate for Public Use (CPU), Code Compliance Certificates (CCC) and Certificate of Acceptance (COA).

As we move into the digital era of consenting, we would like to encourage you to use our online system as set out below. This system has the ability to streamline the process for submitting applications and the uploading of documentation. However if you don't have the ability to fully use the online system you can still download the necessary application forms from the Simpli Portal and fill them in manually and present these to the building team at the councils main office, King George Place Timaru.

Applications can be submitted by the owner or the owners agent (applicant) by following these steps below.

  • You first need to create a user login in the Simpli portal (this is only required first time)
  • To create your application go to the Simpi website login, choose the type of application, then enter the address of the property and then continue to complete the application form
  • The Simpli website has lots of guidance to help you through the application and submission process
  • The information you provide within an application form is required so that your application can be processed under the Building Act 2004. The Council, Territorial Authority (TA) or Building Consent Authority (BCA) collates statistics relating to building work and has a statutory obligation to provide information to third parties. The information is stored on a public register, which must be supplied to whoever requests the information. Under the Privacy Act 2020, you have the right to see, and correct personal information Councils, TAs and BCAs holds about you. All information received and gathered via the consent process is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020

Please ensure you refer to  the Simpli guidance on "How and What" to provide with your application

Note: Hard copy applications may be submitted to the councils main office (King George Place Timaru) providing it is a full and complete application. These application forms can be downloaded from the Simpli website and submitted over the counter and the building team will check it and if complete will load it into the consenting system on your behalf.

Project Information Memorandum (PIM)

Along with a Building Consent, the applicant may also decide to apply for a Project Information Memorandum (PIM).  Ideally this should be sought prior to the Building Consent, which will provide more value to the process, however a PIM can be applied for at the same time as your Building Consent. Remember this application must be submitted through the Simpli portal

A PIM provides information about land and the requirements of other Acts that might be relevant to the proposed building work, including compliance with the Resource Management Act 1991, the District Plan, heritage status, the status and availability of services, etc.  It may also advise of Resource Consent requirements.  More information on Resource Consents can be found on the Council website or by contacting the Timaru District Council Duty Planner or 03 687 7271 for clarification.

If a Resource Consent is required, it is preferable this consent is obtained before submitting a Building Consent as the conditions of the Resource Consent may have an impact on your building’s design.

Approval from the Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECAN) may also be required for any discharge to land from a storm water or a waste water system.  For further information you can visit the ECAN website.

Supporting information and documentation

Information such as plans, specifications, producer statements etc, that are sufficient to demonstrate the proposed building work will comply with the Building Code will be required. If you are unsure how to comply with the requirements of the Building Code you will more than likely require the services of a competent designer or someone that is familiar and has experience with the consenting process as this may seem a bit daunting for some.

Please ensure you refer to  the Simpli guidance on "How and What" to provide with your application

Please refer to our information sheets that provide guidance for many other aspects of your project

Acceptance of Professional opinions (eg Producer Statements)

The use of Producer Statements are well-established and are a widely utilised method of assisting the Building Consent Authority (BCA) in determining Building Code compliance. A Producer Statement for design is normally issued by a design professional to clarify how certain specific elements of the design meet the requirements of the Building Code.

These design requirements or assumptions may also require verification during the construction phase. The framework includes PS1 for design, PS2 for design peer review, PS3 for construction by a contractor/supplier, and PS4 for construction monitoring.

For further information on the use  and acceptance of producer statements please refer to the following information sheet

Building Act sections to consider (s112, s115, s116, s116a) 

Alterations to existing buildings (Section 112)

When applying for Building Consent for altering existing buildings, Council has a legal obligation to question if the building will comply as near as is reasonably practicable with the provisions of the Building Code that relate to:

  • Means of escape from fire, and
  • Access and facilities for persons with disabilities.

With regards to a residential dwellings accessible facilities are not required to be considered, however means of escape is and will automatically require information relating to domestic smoke alarms being installed. Therefore if the use of the building is anything other than a standalone dwelling, you will need to provide an assessment (MBIE gap analysis) of the building that will identify potential areas of improvement. Council will need this information to help determine how the building will meet requirements of means of escape from fire and or access and facilities for persons with disabilities and other provisions of the building code.

However council may, by written notice to the owner, allow the alteration to be carried out without the building complying with provisions of the building code specified by the territorial authority if the territorial authority is satisfied that,

  • if the building were required to comply with the relevant provisions of the building code, the alteration would not take place; and
  • the alteration will result in improvements to attributes of the building that relate to the provisions above; and
  • the improvements referred to above outweigh any detriment that is likely to arise as a result of the building not complying with the building code.

For further information on section 112, please refer to the Building Act 2004

Change of Use (section 115)

Building alterations can at times involve work that may change the use of all or parts of an existing building. The requirements will vary and will be dependent on whether the proposed work triggers both of the following points:

A change of use occurs when both:

  • the use of a building or part of a building changes from one use to another as defined in the Building (Specified Systems, Change the Use, and Earthquake-prone Buildings) Regulations 2005 (the Regulations), and
  • the new use is more onerous or has additional Building Code requirements than the old use.

If this is the case, the Council will need to be satisfied that the building in its new use will comply with the Building Code as near as is reasonably practicable (also known as ANARP). If this is not the case, the building will have to comply with Building Code requirements around accessible facilities and means of escape for fire. Often a building consent will be required.

For further info on the change of use requirements please refer to the Information Sheet and or section 115 of the Building Act 2004

Extension of the specified intended life of a building (section 116)

The specified intended life of a building is in general terms a minimum of 50 years. However this is not to be confused with certain building elements that are to meet building code clause B2 durability requirements of a lesser time frame (50, 15, 5 years).

To extend or change a buildings specified intended life you must provide this to council in writing. This would normally be done via a building consent application, as further considerations of your buildings compliance may be required. Please refer to section 116 of the Building Act 2004

Subdivision of an existing building (section 116A)

If you are proposing to subdivide your land and that land has existing buildings, the subdivision may affect how your building/s continue to comply. Therefore council cannot approve the subdivision until it is satisfied that certain provisions of the Building Act and Code have been met.

These provisions include:

  • Means of escape from fire, and
  • Access and facilities for persons with disabilities, and
  • Protection of other property.

This work may require you to apply for a building consent (in addition to the subdivision approval) and you will need to provide details that will allow council to consider how the existing building/s complied prior to the subdivision and how they will continue to comply, once subdivided. As a result of these considerations you may have to carry out certain building work (via a building consent) and be completed before the subdivision certification can be issued. Please refer to section 116A Building Act 2004

Compliance Schedules and Specified Systems

What is a specified system?

Specified systems are systems or features installed in a building that are crucial to the safety and health of the building and those who use it, or systems which, if they are not maintained, could cause injury or harm. When you apply for a building consent, you must include a list of all specified systems in the building project.

What is a compliance schedule?

A compliance schedule is issued by the Building Consent Authority listing the specified systems within a building (e.g. sprinkler systems, lifts, smoke detectors). These systems ensure a building is safe and healthy for people to enter, occupy or use. The Compliance Schedule for a building must identify which specified systems are present, the performance standards for those systems, and who is required to inspect, maintain, and report that those systems continue to function as installed. A copy of the current compliance schedule must be kept at the address specified at all times.

Submitting you application

When submitting an application for building consent and the proposed building or building work includes work relating to a specified system or amending an existing system, you must include the relevant information check lists on the performance standards, inspection,maintenance and reporting procedures of each system.

For further information you can refer to information sheet or MBIE website or Building Act 2004

Consent Fees and Charges

The Fees and Charges for your application will be invoiced to you once your application has been granted (prior to issuing your consent). The issuing of your consent will only happen once council has received full payment. 
The cost of your consent is made up from a number of contributing factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Administration
  • Technical Checking (AKA Processing and is charged at an hourly rate)
  • Number of inspection types (a set amount for each inspection)
  • Advice Notes (Territorial Authority information applicable to your project)
  • Fire & Emergency NZ review (if applicable)
  • Waiver & Modifications (if applicable)

As the cost of your consent is generally time-based (processing time), it is very important you include high quality and compliant information when submitting your application, as low quality drawings and details will take longer to process, potentially increasing the cost of your consent.

Payment of your consent can be made via internet banking, Eftpos or cash. The Eftpos and cash payment options can only be made at the customer services counter in the main council office at King George Place Timaru. There are options of paying off your consent invoice, however this option must be agreed to by the Building Control Manager.

In addition to the fees mentioned above your consent may be affected by building levy's. The building levy is a charge calculated on the cost of building work. This levy is paid by building owners or developers on successful building consent applications for projects that are worth more than the prescribed threshold as follows:

  • $1.75 (including GST) for every $1000 (or part thereof) over $20,444 (including GST). 

The revenue collected from the building levy is used to fund a range of MBIE functions and activities under the Building Act 2004 including:

  • policy, technical rules and guidance, operational policy advice and service design
  • information and education
  • service delivery (compliance and enforcement) and
  • monitoring and reporting.

There is also a levy collected on behalf of the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) which is applicable to consent values of work as follows:

  1. Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) Levy:
    Calculated at $1.00 per $1,000 of the project value not less than $20,000.

There may also be additional fees identified at the end of the project (CCC stage), these may including but not limited to:

  • additional inspections over and above the original amount identified within the consent approval documents; or
  • amendments to the consent; or
  • any authorised third party verification.

Any additional inspections will be charged at the normal rate as specified in the council's Fees and Charges

if the application has other requirements such as a Compliance Schedule, Certificate for Public Use, Section 77 Certificate (building across two or more lots), etc. Amendments to the original application will incur additional fees.

The Schedule of Fees and Charges are reviewed annually; effective from 1 July each year.

Building Consent Process

Restricted building work (RBW)

Restricted Building Work (RBW) relates to certain aspects of residential building work carried out under a Building Consent.

Any design of RBW must be carried out by a licenced building practitioner (LBP) and verification of this must be submitted with the consent application. You can access and submit this form via the Simpli portal

Once your building consent is approved and before any RBW is carried out the owner must give the Council written notice of the name of every LBP who is engaged to carry out, or supervise, the RBW under the Building Consent. The owner must provide the Council with a written notice as soon as practicable if any of the LBP's change  throughout the project.

Each Licensed Building Practitioner who carried out or supervises RBW must, on completion of that RBW: * Provide the owner, and the Council with a Memorandum (Record of Work) stating the RBW and what the LBP carried out or supervised. You can access and submit this form via the Simpli portal

Owner Builder Obligations

As an owner of you own building you may choose carry out the restricted building work relating to the design and or construction yourself using the Owner-Builder Exemption. However you still need to meet Building Code requirements and apply for any consents necessary to do the work. A homeowner who qualifies for the exemption, will not need to be or use an LBP for any restricted building work on your home.

You can apply for the exemption when you submit your building consent application Simpli portal. Any work you do will be listed as a Owner Builder on your Land Information Memorandum (LIM) for any future references. There are criteria you need to meet to be considered an owner-builder.

  • You are an owner-builder if you:
  • Live in or are going to live in the home (this includes a bach or holiday home)
  • Carry out the restricted building work to your own home yourself, or with the help of your unpaid friends and family members
  • Have not used the Owner-Builder Exemption to carry out restricted building work to any other home in the previous 3 years.
  • Have not used the Owner-Builder Exemption to carry out restricted building work to any other home in the previous 3 years.

Accepting an application

Once you have submitted your application (through the Simpli portal) the Building Consent Authority (BCA) will carry out an initial “checking” process (this is also referred to as “Vetting”). This process is to ensure the information you have provided will be sufficient to carry out the technical check (assessing compliance with the building code) for the next stage of the process.

Please note: further information (SRFI's) may be requested, as a result of this checking process, so please take the time to ensure you are providing all the relevant information necessary. If you are unsure the Simpli website has information on what to include or you can contact the Building Advisory Office or ph 03 687 7236 to double check.

When the BCA is satisfied the application is complete, it is accepted and loaded into the system. At this point the application has a unique number assigned to it, this is known as the building consent number, an example of this is 2.2021.123 (application type / year / number in order). Advice is sent to the consent applicant acknowledging we have received the application, identifying the consent number and that the BCA has a statutory time frame of 20 working days to process the application.

The technical checking and approval process 

Prior to the building officers starting the technical check, other relevant units within council have the opportunity to review the application for the purpose of including any relevant information and or checking if other consents or approvals are required. If so you will be contacted by those other units, including Planning, Drainage and Water, Land Transport, Environmental Health or Infrastructure and advised of these additional requirements.

The BCA has other legislative requirements under the Building Act which may require the following external agencies, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) or Heritage New Zealand, to be informed and or asked to provide feedback relating to your application. The input from these agencies may result in changes to your proposal and if so the BCA will advise you of these requirements.

Applications that FENZ would be required to review include:

  • where compliance with clauses C1-6, D1, F6 or F8 of the Building Code will be established other than by compliance with the provisions of an applicable compliance document; or
  • that involves a modification or waiver of clauses
    C1-6, D1, F6 or F8 of the Building Code; or
  • that involves an alteration, change in use or subdivision and affects the fire safety systems, including any building work on a specified system relating to fire safety, except where the effect on the fire safety system is minor.
  • further information can be found here.

Applications that Heritage NZ require to be advised of include:

  • an application for a project information memorandum (PIM), or for a building consent, affects a historic place, historic area, wāhi tapu, or wāhi tapu area that has been entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero; and
  • the territorial authority has not previously advised Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga about the building work to which that application relates.

All consent applications are assessed into building categories from Residential 1, 2 & 3 to Commercial 1, 2 & 3. The technical checking is performed by a Building Control Officer (BCO) that has approved competencies relating to that category of work.

Technical Checking (Processing):

Throughout the technical checking process (assessing compliance with the building code), the BCO may request further information, these are known as RFI’s. These may be necessary due to the information provided not demonstrating compliance, conflicting information and or additional information needed to verify compliance. There may also be the need for additional professional opinions (eg engineer designs and producer statements) to verify the compliance pathway.

Should this be required, the application will be suspended until all information is provided in full.  A “stop the clock” system may be used multiple times during this period to keep track of the 20 working day time frame. You will receive an email alert through the consent portal, advising you of the RFI's  and then once you have compiled your answers (including all plans, spec's and details), you will submit them back through the consent portal.

From time to time we may require additional resources to perform the technical processing of an application. Currently our external contractor is the Solutions Team based in Christchurch. Please feel free to contact them directly on 03 366 0077 if you have any questions relating to an RFI request.

Multiple RFI requests may be necessary for the BCO to assess compliance. However it is important to understand this process is not a safety net for applicants to get the council to tell them what else they need to do or provide. Should the BCO not be satisfied compliance has been achieved they can at any stage refuse to grant the application, so please make sure you and or your designer understand how compliance is achieved.

NOTE: You can track the progression of your Consent via the Simpli website:

National Multi-proof Approval:

Multiproof is a statement by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) that a set of plans and specifications for a building complies with the Building Code.To be eligible you must have the intention and the ability to build an approved design at least 10 times over two years. Multiproof speeds up the consenting process. It does not give the right to carry out building work that requires a building consent. You still need to apply for consent each time you want to build.

MultiProof establishes that a design complies with NZ Building Code. When your building consent application includes a MultiProof the BCA must grant or refuse it within 10 working days instead of the usual 20. However the "stop the clock" process may be applicable if the BCA believes any further information is required.

The Building Consent Authority (BCA) confirms and establishes:

  • the design, with any permitted variations, is the same as the design approved in the MultiProof
  • the proposed site meets the conditions of the MultiProof
  • the site specific features of the design comply with the Building Code
  • the inspections required.

Additional information for Offshore fabrication:

If your MultiProof is for a design of a building which will be fabricated offshore, the BCA may ask you to identify any site assembly work if it is not clear in your documentation. This is to confirm any work that needs to be carried out or supervised by an LBP, and to establish any inspections.

You may also be asked to provide additional documentation as assurance that the prefabricated building, or a specific material or building method used in this building, is in accordance with the MultiProof. For example you may be requested to make a declaration that the building was constructed in accordance with the MultiProof approved plans and specifications. You may need to provide traceable evidence to confirm this.

Waivers and Modifications:

What is a Waiver? A Territorial Authority can waive the requirement for a particular application for a building consent, or part of an application, to comply with an aspect of the Building Code. In most cases waivers will relate to a particular performance requirement of a specific clause of the Building Code (eg C3.3.2 (d)). However, sometimes it may be appropriate to waive an entire Building Code clause.

What is a Modification? In relation to an application for a building consent a Territorial Authority can modify a performance requirement of the Building Code. This is usually done by modifying a performance requirement of the Building Code so that the functional requirement and objectives of the clause are still met. A common example is the modification of B2.3.1, which relates to the durability of a particular element and when the durability period applies from.

Approval process (Granting):

Once the plans and supporting information have been assessed with all relevant Act's and associated legislation as being compliant, the BCA , in accordance with section 49 of the Act, is now "satisfied on reasonable grounds" and can “Grant” (approve) the building consent and a PIM (if this has been applied for and not already issued) and an invoice will be sent out to the owner or applicant.  When the invoice has been paid in full, the approved documentation can be issued  may be uplifted (via the Simpli portal).  Work must not proceed until the building consent and approved documentation have been uplifted (and provided you are not awaiting a Resource Consent from either Timaru District Council or Environment Canterbury)

Building Consent Conditions:

Included in your building consent and before the application can be granted (approved), council must identify any relevant conditions applicable to your project. These conditions relate to specific sections of the Building Act 2004 - 67, 72, 75, 90, 113 and will be identified on the building consent document (Form 5). This is included with all other approved documentation. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with these conditions as the consequences of not complying with them could be significant.


You can also refer to our information sheet for further details of building consent conditions

Refusing of a building consent

Building consent applications can be refused for a number of reasons and at any stage from the initial checking of an application or throughout the technical checking process. Some of these reasons may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The building officer has undertaken an initial check of the application and has identified certain relevant information not included with the application; or
  • At any stage throughout the technical checking, the officer believes that due to the number of non-compliant items identified, continuing the checking process would not provide any further value; or
  • If a request for further information (RFI) letter has been sent and the information returned to the officer is either insufficient or inadequate, therefore potentially requiring further RFI’s, the officer may conclude that the applicant requires further assistance to achieve compliance.

The process to determine whether to refuse an application will include a consistent approach based on guidance developed and adopted by the Southern Building Control Group which Timaru is a part of. The refusal process is not a decision made lightly, however any decision made will have been communicated to and given due consideration to all parties involved.

When a building consent application is refused, the owner and or applicant will be advised in writing and provided the reasons for the refusal. This now provides the opportunity for the owner or applicant to re-evaluate their application in terms of compliance before resubmission.

The inspection process

Once you consent has been granted and issued you will be able to start your project. Included in your Building Consent will be all the approved documents such as plans and specifications etc. There is also documentation which outlines the type and number of inspections allocated for that project of which you can do more or less depending how you carry out the work. There is also information within the consent that explains any other documentation required to be provided by you or any other third parties.

Other approvals required (Resource Management Act): It is very important to familiarise yourself with all the consent documentation as your consent may be subject to the  requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991. This could mean that you may not be able to do any building work or the work may be restricted (section 37(1) or 37(2b) of the Building Act 2004) until your Resource Consent is approved.

Inspections: The granting of a building consent is conditional on enabling the building work to be inspected. Inspections are required to verify the building work has been carried out in accordance with the approved consent. They typically relate to the critical aspects of your project such as it's structure, weathertightness, plumbing and drainage and safety requirements.

Standard inspection types can be, but not limited to:

  • foundations
  • underslab services
  • floor slab
  • block work
  • wall & roof framing
  • pre-line
  • post-line
  • pre-cladding
  • half high brick
  • foul & storm water drainage
  • final building and or plumbing

You or your agent are required to book your inspections (as identified within your consent) or as required, with as much lead in time as possible to secure your preferred time. All inspections are to be booked through the council's customer service team on 03 687 7200. Please ensure you provide the consent number to the staff as they need this to register your inspection.


  • The plans, specifications and all other approved documents (consent documentation) must be on site during the construction of any project and when the inspector is to carry out any inspection.
  • You must provide the inspector safe site access and access to all consent documents so they can verify the work complies with the consent.
  • All relevant persons must be on site for each inspection and be aware of the inspection requirements should any information be requested by the inspector.
  • If these above requirements can not be achieved that inspection will fail and you will have to re-book another inspection at another time potentially incurring additional inspection costs.
  • All inspection notes and outcomes/findings (Pass or Fail) are recorded within the consent. Any "Failed" items are forwarded to the relevant person/s for them to rectify and re-book an inspection to check compliance.
  • There may be situations where the building consent officer (BCO) can allow a “conditional continuation” as most of the work (relating to that inspection) complies but there are some minor non-compliances or some minor work not completed and may not impact on the overall work proceeding. This work can be followed up with on the next inspection, however it is important to discuss this with BCO as this may impact on the approval of any further work or the issuing of the code compliance certificate (CCC).

If you wish to change an aspect of your project you must obtain either a Minor Variation or an Amendment to the building consent before that work is carried out. Please refer to Amendments and Minor Variations section.

As soon as all work is completed you must make application for a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) which verifies all the work has been completed in accordance with the consent. Please refer to the Code Compliance Certificate section.

Important Note: A building consent shall lapse if work has not commenced within 12 months of the date of issue, unless an “extension of time” applied for and granted by council, please refer to the Lapse and Extension of Time section.

Lapsed consents & Extensions of Time

There are some instances where it may be necessary to apply for an extension of time (EOT) once a building consent has been issued.

No Commencement of Building Work Within 12 Months

If no building work to which the building consent relates, has commenced within 12 months after the issued date, the consent will automatically lapse and is of no effect (expired). Therefore it is important you make a start on your project or if you need more time to make a start you could apply for an extension of time (EOT) provided this is done before the 12 months are up.

Building Work Not Completed After 2 Years

Another instance where an extension of time may be relevant is when Code Compliance Certificates (CCC) are being considered. An Owner must apply for a CCC as soon as practicable after the building work is completed. If no application for CCC is made then the Council must decide whether to issue a CCC at the expiry of two years after the date the building consent was granted. However if all the building work has not been completed, an extension of time can be applied for via the  Simpli portal

Application for extension of time must be signed by the land owner (or authorised agent) and there is a fee for considering this application. An application for an EOT can be made in either hard copy with the form downloaded from the Simpli portal and presented to the council's main office for processing or the digital option via the Simpli portal as well. An EOT may incur a fee charged for this process.

For further details of costs please refer to fees and charges.

Amendments and Minor Variations 

After a Building Consent has been issued and before the issuing of the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC), if you want to make a change to the approved building work, you can only do this via two methods,  Minor Variations or an Amendment.

  • Minor Variations are changes that usually do not affect how compliance with the consent is achieved – for example changing from one acceptable solution to another, repositioning of kitchen joinery, non- structural walls or windows or doors. These proposed changes can either be resolved on site with the inspector or through the office. Both options will require revised plans and or details to be submitted either via the consent portal or emailed to and officially approved before the work can be carried out and then will be recorded within the consent file. Please note that all proposed changes will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • Amendments are generally work that is outside the original scope or did not form part of the original approved consent – for example changing from an acceptable solution to an alternative solution, an addition to the footprint/floor area, change to the structure, bracing or the drainage design.
  • These changes are to be submitted and approved via a separate application (amendment) just like applying for the original consent, before any of that work can be carried out. As this process may take some time to approve, causing delays and or may result stopping your project until approval is given, it is very important that you allow the necessary time for this process to be undertaken.
  • B2 Modification Amendments - Building Code Clause B2 Durability contains provisions that, in general terms, require all building elements to be durable for prescribed periods of time, assuming normal maintenance.
  • These periods, contained in Clause B2.3.1, range from five years to the life of the building, being not less than 50 years. The limitation on Clause B2.3.1 states that the durability periods commence when the BCA issues the CCC for the work concerned.
  • For whatever reason the CCC may not be sought (by the owner or agent) until many years after the completion of the building work and or the consent may have been issued under the previous Act (Building Act 1991) adding further complexities to the decision making process. This is because the building elements have already been in service for a significant time, and their durability periods will have been either partly or fully expended.
  • If you are required to apply for a B2 Modification, you will need to complete our B2 Modification Application For Code Compliance form and submit it as an Amendment application via the Simpli consent portal.

Therefore for clarity, all changes (minor variations or amendments) must be approved by the building team before that work is carried out. Continuing work without the correct approval may result in you project being stopped and this can have a major impact on contractors, other commitments and issuing the CCC.

Certifying Building Work & Code Compliance Certificate (CCC)

To certify building work, the Council will carry out inspections and must be satisfied on reasonable grounds (in accordance with sec 94 building act 2004) that the building work has been completed as per the granted (approved) Building Consent documentation including any amendments or minor variations so they can issue the code compliance certificate (CCC).

An application for Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) must be made as soon as practicable after ALL consented building work is completed, including:

  • Building consent conditions have been met.
  • All building work has been undertaken in accordance with the building consent.
  • All completed documentation has been received such as gas and electrical certificates, drainage plan, surveyor’s certificate, producer statements, LBP records of work.
  • All specified systems (if applicable) have been installed correctly and are operational.
  • All inspections have been undertaken, passed and approved.
  • All records are complete.
  • Any outstanding fees, charges and development contributions have been paid in full.

When the CCC application has been received via the Simpli portal or hard copy, there is a statutory requirement for the BCA to issue the CCC within 20 working days. Should the Council require further information before the CCC can be issued, the application will be suspended until that information is provided. A "stop the clock" system is used during the suspension to keep track of the 20 working day time period for the processing of the application.

Should no application for CCC be submitted to council within two years of when the consent was granted, or any further period that may have been agreed to between the owner and Council, the Council must decide whether or not to issue the CCC.  It may be necessary to request an Extension of Time (EOT) by completing and application either via the Simpli portal or downloading a form from the Simpli portal and presenting it in hard copy to the council's main office.

Receiving your Code compliance Certificate means that all the consented building work has been completed and complies with the Building Consent. This is the most important document you will have to verify that you have a compliant building or building work. This document has also become very important for other reasons such as Bank mortgages and Insurance purposes.

For buildings that have one or more specified systems installed or altered as part of the building consent, you will be required to submit all of the producer statements and all third party inspections and verifications relating to the installation of those systems to ensure that:

  • all specified systems have been installed in the building and are operational; and
  • that the issuing of the Compliance Schedules and Compliance Schedule Statements can be completed.

This advice will be stated within your consent approval documentation, so please take the time to familiarise yourself with these requirements before you apply for your CCC.

Council must also give consideration to whether a building method or product that has a current warning or ban under the Building Act 2004, has been used or applied in the building work to which the Code Compliance Certificate would relate.

Issuing CCC's for older consents can be problematic for both owner and council. This is due to the durability of certain building elements have been either partly or fully expended. Should this be applicable to your consent (older than 5 years from issued date) you will be required to apply for an amendment to your consent, modifying the durability of those certain elements. This application (standard Form 2) shall be submitted in the usual way and must include the completed supplementary form PS-126A. to be submitted with the application.

Once an application for a Code Compliance Certificate (BA Form 6) has been received and the building work has been certified, council can then issue the Code Compliance Certificate.

NOTE: If a Building Consent application was made under the Building Act 1991, then the transitional provisions will apply, in other words, not only does the building work have to comply with the consent, it must also comply with the building code that applied at the time the consent was granted.

Certificate for Public Use (CPU)

If the public uses all or part of your building, and you want them to access it before your building work has begun or been signed off as complete (before CCC issued), you can apply to your council for a certificate for public use. Your application will need to show that all or part of the building (whatever you are applying for) can be used safely by members of the public.

Premises intended for public use are likely to include, but are not limited to:

  • schools and childcare centres
  • hospitals and rest homes
  • premises providing public accommodation, such as hostels and guest houses
  • places of assembly, including churches, cinemas and conference facilities
  • clubrooms and recreation centres with public access
  • restaurants and bars
  • public foyers in office and apartment buildings
  • public structures.

You can apply for a certificate for public use with your consent application (eg existing building) or if a building consent has been granted but the code compliance certificate has not been issued (eg occupying part of the building prior before all work is complete). Either way you will still need to apply for a code compliance certificate once all of the building work has been completed in accordance with the consent.

Applying for your CPU can be submitted through the Simpli portal and or hard copy (refer to how to apply for a consent section) and the consents team will assess your application. This approval process has fees and charges applicable to it.

For further info on Certificate for Public Use you can visit the Building Act 2004

Non-Compliant Building Work

Notice to Fix (NTF)

A Notice to Fix is official acknowledgement issued by Council when they have considered that your building or building work does not meet the requirements of the Building Act, Building Code or Building Consent. The Council, in its capacity as a Territorial Authority (TA) or a Building Consent Authority (BCA), can issue notices to fix on both complete and partial builds.

An NTF can be issued to the person carrying out the work, supervising the work and or the building owner. You can be issued with an NTF for any breaches of the Building Act 2004, not just current building work. The Council, must issue a notice if it considers on reasonable grounds that:

  • A specified person is not meeting the requirements of the Building Act 2004 (for example, doing building work without a Building Consent when one is required or not in accordance with a Building Consent).
  • A specified person is not meeting the requirements of the Building Code.
  • A building warrant of fitness is not correct.
  • The inspection, maintenance or reporting procedures stated in the compliance schedule are not being, or have not been complied with.

Following up a Notice to Fix

Once the relevant building work has been completed the person specified on the notice must advise Council. The Council will then inspect the relevant building or building work and decide if the notice has been complied with. The council must notify the specified person in writing if the notice has been complied with or not.

Failing to comply with Notice to Fix

If a notice to fix has not been complied with, the Council has the option of infringing the specified person/s or in a worst case scenario could be fined (on conviction via the court). However, to try and avoid non-compliances, the Council will actively work with all parties involved to ensure the best outcome is achieved for everyone.

For further information on Notice to Fix please refer to the Building Act 2004

Building Consent Complaints and Determinations

If you have a complaint about a building and or building work relating to a building consent, you are able to submit a complaint. All complaints will be assessed and prioritised according to the nature and severity of the complaint and on a case by case basis. Complaints are recorded within the complaints register allowing the process to be managed through to its completion.

Existing Buildings

There will be times when you may feel you wish to advise the council of an issue relating to and existing building. However the council’s building unit has a limited scope of responsibility when it comes to managing these types of issues. There are certain circumstances within the Building Act 2004 that allows us to act and manage this process.

Theses include:

  • Dangerous Buildings.
  • Affected Buildings.
  • Insanitary Buildings.
  • Earthquake-prone Buildings

If you believe that your complaint relates to any of the above items, you may lodge your complaint by completing the complaints register form attach any relevant info (eg photo's) and send them to

Please ensure you clearly outline your concerns and include your full contact details. We will endeavor to respond to the initial complaint within the following time frames:

  • Emergency complaints 2hours
  • Urgent complaints 24 hours
  • Routine complaints 48 hours

Building Work

These types of complaints directly relate to building work that is subject to a current building consent, in other words buildings or building work under construction that have not yet received their code compliance certificate (CCC). Issues or complaints relating to this work can be varied, ranging from surface water affecting neighbors or neighboring properties, to incomplete construction that may pose a risk to other people or property.

Whatever your perceived complaint, the key component is the existence of a current building consent for the Building Control Authority (BCA) to take action and resolve the issues raised. If you believe that your complaint relates to this criteria, you may contact the Timaru District Council in writing, outlining your concerns and include your full contact details. We will endeavor to respond to your initial complaint within the same time frames identified above.

Important: All or part of the information collected relating to a complaint is subject to the Building Act 2004 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE) Determinations

Determinations are legally binding decisions made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) about matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. They are not for disputes about workmanship. Most determinations are applied for by building owners, but councils and other people can also apply.

A determination can:

  • make a decision on whether building work complies with the Building Code. The building work can be planned, underway or complete.
  • confirm, reverse or modify council decisions on certain issues. For example, a determination may say the council was correct not to issue a particular building consent.

A determination is not intended to replace the council's decision-making process and responsibility, but rather to consider particular matters in dispute.

How to apply for a determination

It is important to know how to apply for a determination and what information is required to be submitted. For information on the process please go to Applying for a Determination

For further information on determinations you can visit the MBIE website

Last updated: 08 Sep 2022