Building Consent Process

Building Overview

How do I know if a building consent is required?

All building work done 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 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 pools and their associated fences
  • decks, platforms or bridges more than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • buildings greater than 10 square metres in floor area
  • some earthworks.

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

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

http://tiny.cc/Schedule1BCExemptions

Exempt Building Work

All building work done 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 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 pools and their associated fences
  • decks, platforms or bridges more than 1.5 metres above ground level
  • buildings greater than 10 square metres in floor area
  • some earthworks.

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

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

http://tiny.cc/Schedule1BCExemptions

Other Things to consider

  • Is the proposed work “Restricted Building Work”, if yes it will need to be designed by a licenced building practitioner (LBP).
  • Does your proposal comply with the requirements of the District Plan? Please contact the Duty Planner.
  • Do you need a Resource Consent? Please contact the Duty Planner.
  • Will your proposed work involve an historic or heritage building. Please discuss with the Duty Planner.
  • 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.
  • Will your proposal affect roads, streets, footpaths, including berms. If yes please contact the Land Transport team.
  • Will an approval or consent be required from Environment Canterbury. Please contact Ecan for further information.

What stage do I 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 (at least two-three months) for the consenting process as additional information and other considerations and or council approvals may be required.

How do you apply?

The Timaru District Council has multiple ways of applying for a building consent either electronically via the consenting portal (preferable option) or in paper form.

To submit an application via the portal you will need to have a login and password. Please contact the Building Advisory Office 03 687 7236 to have this arranged.

Paper or hard copy applications are preferably received by the councils main office at King George Place Timaru. The Temuka and Geraldine service centres can receive these applications, however it can take a little longer to get them into the main office for processing.

To lodge your application by post please address it to:

Main Office TimaruTemuka Service CentreGeraldine Service Centre
Duty Building Officer
Timaru District Council
2 King George Place
Timaru
Temuka Library, Service and Information Centre
72-74 King Street
Temuka
Geraldine Library, Service and Information Centre
78 Talbot Street
Geraldine

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.

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 District Plan, heritage status, the status and availability of services, etc.  It may also advise Resource Consent requirements.  More information on Resource Consents can be found on the Council website or by contacting the Timaru District Council Duty Planner on 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.


Building Consent Process

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 at least someone that is familiar with the consenting process as this may seem a bit daunting for some.

Please refer to the following page for guidance on supporting information and documentation

Accepting An Application

Once you have submitted your application 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 and relevant to carry out the technical check (assessing compliance with the building code).

Please note: further information may be requested as a result of this process, so please take the time to ensure you are providing all the relevant information necessary. If you are unsure please contact the Building Advisory Office 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 2.2019.123 (application type / year / number in order). A letter is sent to the consent applicant acknowledging we have received the application, identifying the consent number and advising that the BCA has a statutory time frame of 20 working days to decide if we can grant your application or not.

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.

NOTE: You can track the progression of your Consent (tasks assigned to your application) on our website:

  • www.timaru.govt.nz
  • ADV search tab (top right corner)
  • Full search options – application search
  • Enter your building consent number (eg 2.2019.123)
  • Search

This will detail the description of work, location of the property and detail all “tasks” of their current status to date. A “task” is an internal electronic notification to another unit which alerts them to review an application and provide feedback relevant to the proposal.

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.

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. Should this be required, the application will be suspended until all information is provided in full.  A “stop the clock” system is used during this period to keep track of the 20 working day time frame.

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 your designer understand what compliance means.

Once the plans and supporting information have been assessed as compliant with the New Zealand Building Code, the consent is “Granted” (approved) and a PIM (if this has been applied for and not already issued) and an invoice are sent out to the applicant.  When the invoice has been paid in full, the approved plans may be uplifted and the application for the building consent is issued.  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)

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 as the consequences of not complying with the conditions could be significant

Refusing of a building consent

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Once you have received your Building Consent

Included in your Building Consent will be all the approved documents such as plans and specifications etc. There is also an Inspection and Documentation Regime which outlines the inspections to be undertaken and documentation required to be provided. Your or your agent will be required to book all inspections with as much lead in time as possible at the correct time before proceeding with further building work.

All building work must be carried out in accordance with your approved building consent. If you wish to change some aspect of the project you must obtain an amendment to the building consent before the work is carried out.

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.

When all work is completed you must make application for a Code Compliance Certificate which verifies all the work has been completed in accordance with the consent.

Extension 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 date of issue, the consent will automatically lapse and is of no effect (expired). of the building consent. Therefore if you are likely to find yourself in this situation you can apply for an extension of time 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 issued. However if all the building work has not been completed, an extension of time can be applied for.

Application for extension of time must be signed by the land owner (or authorised agent) and there is a fee for considering this application.

For further details please refer to application forms and fees and charges.

Amendments and 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, an Amendment or a Variation

An amendment is where the change is something other than minor but does not include a change in the scope of the works.  In this case an application for an amendment to the Building Consent must be made and is processed in the same way as the original consent. This will include all relevant fees and charges associated with this process

An amendment is where the change is something other than minor but does not include a change in the scope of the works.  In this case an application for an amendment to the Building Consent must be made and is processed in the same way as the original consent. This will include all relevant fees and charges associated with this process

Code Compliance Certificate (CCC)

To certify building work, the Council will carry out inspections and must be able to ensure that the building work has been completed as per the approved Building Consent documentation including any amendments or variations so they can issue the code compliance certificate (CCC).

To do this the Council must ensure that:

  • 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 inspections have been undertaken, passed and approved.
  • All records are complete.

If it is a commercial building or a residential cable car attached to a building, there are additional requirements prior to the issue of the Code Compliance Certificate such as:

  • Check whether all specified systems installed in the building are operational.
  • Issuing Compliance Schedules and Compliance Schedule Statements.

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.

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.

For further information on the inspection process please refer to the building inspection guide here

Last updated: 20 Nov 2019