All questions relating to building consents, resource consent, building inspections, project information memorandums (PIMs) and land information memorandums (LIMs) should be referred to the Council's Planning and Environment Department 03 440 0613.
A building consent is required for most building work, including:
- swimming pools, retaining walls, garages and carports, alterations and extensions, new buildings and some decks and fences
- plumbing and drainage work
- heating, including fireplaces, ventilation and air conditioning systems
- demolition works
- relocation of existing buildings
- change of use of buildings
What is a Building Consent?
A building consent is approval from the Council to carry out building works at a specific site, ensuring that there is sanitary plumbing and drainage, that minimum fire safety standards have been met and that works are structurally sound.
Why do I need Building Consent?
Works undertaken without building consent, excluding those specifically identified in the Building Act, are illegal. They are often costly to set right and may put people‘s safety or property at risk. Illegal building works may also affect your insurance cover and/or house sale negotiations. If you are doing some work and do not know whether you need a building consent the best thing to do is ask. Call one of our Building Control Officers on 03 440 0613 to find out.
Tell me about Restricted Building Work [RBW] and Licensed Building Practitioners [LBPs]
After March 1st 2012, if your residential building work is structural or if it affects the weather-tightness of the building, the work may be ‘Restricted Building Work’. This means that you MUST employ a Licensed Building Practitioner [LBP] to design and carry out that work. They must either DO or SUPERVISE this work. If you are the home owner it is your responsibility to check the people you are using are licensed for the type of RBW you are having done. Just ask to see their LBP card or visit the Department of Building and Housing website www.dbh.govt.nz/lbp.
How do I Apply for Building Consent?
Completing the application form and appropriate user guide in full and providing all the information listed in the user guide will ensure you submit everything needed for the Council to accept your application. When you are ready to lodge your application please phone 440 0613 (Alexandra) or 445 0211 (Cromwell) and make a PAC appointment. A Building Control Officer and a Planning Officer will be allocated to review your application for completeness and compliance prior to it being accepted. Applications will not be accepted if any information is missing. Mailed applications will be returned by mail if not accepted. This initial check is in regard to content of the application only. A more detailed check of the information during processing may result in delays if the information submitted is incomplete or does not provide the level of detail required. Application forms and user guides are available at all the Council service centres or by ringing 03 440 0613.
A large number of building consent applications are delayed or rejected because of insufficient information relating to the engineering aspects of a proposal. This information may include (but is not limited to) a geotechnical report, a flood risk assessment and/or drainage and storm water reports. We recommend that you appoint an architect, draughtsperson, builder, engineer and/or other qualified consultant to assist you in preparing your application.
Click here to download the Building Consent Application Form
Building consent user guides:
Do I still need building consent if I have a national multi-proof approval?
Yes. National multi-proof approvals are issued by the Department of Building and Housing [DBH]. A multi-proof is a statement from the DBH that a specific set of building plans and specifications complies with the NZ Building Code. Councils must accept multi-proof approval as evidence of Building Code compliance. However, a building consent is required each time you want to build a design that has been issued with national multi-proof approval. This is to enable Council to check that the approval conditions will be met on the proposed site and that the site specific features of the design [such as foundations and drainage] comply with the Building Code. Council has 10 working days to grant or refuse a multi-proof building consent.
How Much will my Building Consent Cost?
The cost varies depending on the complexity and dollar value of your building project. The Council’s building control officers can provide a fee estimate for your project in advance, but an invoice will not be provided until you submit your application.
If the value of your application is over $20,000 you fees will include levies which we are required to collect on behalf of the Department of Building and Housing and the Building Research Association of NZ.
Please do not write out cheques in advance based on the fee estimate - this is a guide only. Fee must be paid when you submit your application.
If you cancel your consent application, some fees may still apply.
Fees and Charges
How is my Building Consent Application Processed?
Once accepted and entered into the Council’s computer system, a Building Control Officer (usually the officer who checked your application with you before it was lodged) will check the plans, specifications and any other documentation supplied with the application. This is to ensure that the building work, if carried out in accordance with the documentation will comply with the building code.
If the work has specific design that is particularly complex or unfamiliar to the Officer it will be referred to another Officer with specialist knowledge or skills. These may include plumbing and drainage, structural, resource management and others. If an external peer review is required [e.g. by an engineer or the Design Review Unit of the NZ Fire Service] it will be ata cost to the applicant.
If any further information is needed you will be notified and no further work will be done on processing your consent until the information is received. Once the Officer has all the required information and is satisfied that the work will comply with the Building Code consent will be granted and sent to you along with the Project Information Memorandum.
How Long does it take to obtain a Building Consent
Once we have completed the pre-application consultation check and formally accept your application we enter your information into the Council’s database. Once it is entered, we then have 20 working days togrant the building consent.
If more information is needed in the consent application, we will stop the clock on the 20 working days requirement and send the owner or agent a letter outlining the information that is needed. We can’t guarantee that there will be no delays, but the chance of this occurring is significantly less if your application is thoroughly completed [with professional input where needed.] Once we receive all the correct information, the ‘20 working day’ clock can restart and the building consent can be granted and issued.
Checking Resource Consent Requirements and Other Permissions
About half of all people applying for a building consent in Central Otago District also require a Resource Consent. This depends on the location (zoning) of the building site, the nature of the proposed project, and whether or not it complies with the Central Otago District Plan. If the proposed building works are not permitted by the District Plan, resource consent is required.
Depending on the location of the property, some common examples of building projects requiring resource consent include:
- building in close proximity to property boundaries
- excavating to a depth of1m or more within 2m of a boundary
- changing the use of a residential or commercial building (for example, you may require more car parks)
- building over an area that covers more land than existing buildings
If resource consent is required building work cannot commence until a Resource Consent is obtained (Building Act 2004, Section 37).
Contact the Council’s Planning and Environment Department helpdesk (telephone 03 440 0602) for further information about resource consents.
We also check for compliance with the Council’s bylaws and other legislation such as vehicle access, earthworks, water reticulation, public drainage and, in the case of commercial premises, areas such as health, trade waste, building warrant of fitness and back flow prevention.
Now I have my Consent What Happens?
Once your building consent is issued and you have obtained any other approvals required [such as Resource Consent] you may then commence work on your project. It is very important that you [and your contractors] read the building consent documentation to ensure you are clear about the requirements.
Prepare for On-site Inspections
We will send you the building consent in a convenient pack for storage on-site. It contains valuable information in addition to the building consent, such as the list of inspections that will be needed for your project.
Book an inspection
For Restricted Building Work [RBW], you must notify council in writing of the Licensed Building Practitioner(s) [LBPs] who will be doing the work before you can book the first inspection. [If you filled them in on the building consent application form in the first instance and they have not changed you are able to book an inspection.]
Please give us at least 1 working days’ notice to book an inspection. (However, there may be times when our Building Inspectors may not be able to do an inspection when requested, because of heavy workloads.) The more notice you can give us the better.
Make sure you have all your approved building consent documents on-site for the inspection otherwise we can not do an inspection.
The Building Control Officer will check that the building work is in accordance with the building consent documents and the requirements of the Building Act 2004 and Building Code. For Restricted Building Work, the LBP on site must be able to prove he is licensed by showing his card to the Building Control Officer [if requested to].
Each inspection must be passed by the Building Control Officer before the work can continue. The owner/agent is responsible to ensure that all inspections identified on the site inspection sheet are approved.
What happens next?
The Building Control Officer can either pass or fail the on-site inspection.
For a pass – this will be recorded on both the on-site inspection sheet and the Building Control Officer’s inspection sheet and then entered into Council’s computer records.
For a fail – this will mean a re-inspection is needed once the work in question has been rectified. A letter may also be sent confirming what re-work is required. If additional inspections are required we may have to charge a fee, as re-inspections are not provided for in the initial building consent fees.
In addition to the inspections by Council officers, inspections may be required by specialists including structural, geotechnical and fire engineers. You will need to liaise directly with your specialist about the inspections he/she will need to make. Your specialist may not be able to give you the required Producer Statement if you have failed to arrange for inspections at the appropriate times.
How Long is my Building Consent Valid for?
Work must start on your project within 12 months from the date the consent was issued and complete the project within 2 years.
Amendments/Changes During Construction
The Building Act 2004 requires work to be carried out in accordance with the building consent. However, changes often occur during construction either to the design, materials or proprietary system which require an amendment to the building consent.
Changes should be discussed with the Building Officer to agree on the best way of dealing with them.
There are two ways that these amendments can be dealt with;
- For minor amendments/changes the Council officer may simply note the plans, record their decision for acceptance and work can carry on. Examples of a minor amendment would be; change in insulation R value, change in building wrap, change to window position [not affecting wall bracing] etc.
- For major amendments/changes you will be required to apply to the Council for an amendment [on the approved form] which may result in work being held up until the amendment has been approved. This may not necessarily require the entire building project to stop, but it will certainly stop work on the area covered by the amendment. Examples of a major amendment would be; structural changes [including trusses,] cladding change, change to foundation details etc..
Application for Building Consent Amendment
Code Compliance Certificates [CCC or Final Sign Off]
What is a code compliance certificate?
The Council issues a code compliance certificate for consented building work when it is satisfied that the building work complies with the New Zealand Building Code and the building consent.
The owner is responsible for notifying the Council as soon as practicable that the building work has been completed according to the building consent.
Before you apply for your code compliance certificate you need to ensure that the final inspection of your building work has been passed. When notifying the Council of completed work, allowances should be made for time to arrange an inspection and to rectify any work that does not comply with the building code.
We may be unable to issue the Code of Compliance Certificate if any of the required inspections have been missed or the required Producer Statements cannot be provided. Without a CCC you may experience difficulties insuring your property or selling it in future.
A review of the fees paid for inspections will be made when the CCC is being approved for issue. Additional inspection fees will be charged if the inspection fee paid when the application was lodged is not enough to cover the inspection time actually used. You will be invoiced for any inspections not covered in the initial fee and payment is required before the CCC can be issued.
If an application for CCC has not been received within two years of the building consent being granted, Council is obliged to undertake an inspection and decide whether or not to issue a Code of Compliance Certificate. A reminder letter will be sent out to alert you to this. Failure to respond to reminder letters from Council may result in Code of Compliance being refused.
If you apply in writing for an extension of time to complete your building project an officer may grant an extension after reviewing the file or by doing a progress inspection. Council will advise you in writing if an extension of time is approved.
How do I get my Code Compliance Certificate?
The CCC application form will have been sent to you in the building consent pack, but if you need a new one you can contact us and have one sent out.The building control officer will have you complete this application at the approved final inspection.
The Building Act requires us to process your application for CCC within 20 working days. The ‘clock’ starts when we received your application. As with building consent applications, the ‘clock’ will stop if your application is suspended awaiting additional inspections, documentation or fees and will restart when the issue has been resolved.
When you apply for a Code of Compliance Certificate you will need to confirm the names and contact details for all the people involved in your project e.g. builders, plumbers, engineers etc.
You may also need to supply supporting documentation such as energy certificates, Records of Work or Producer Statements. Your CCC application form lists the documentation required before a Code of Compliance Certificate can be issued and additional documentation may also be requested during inspections [e.g. as-built drainage plan, amendment etc.]
A Compliance Schedule will be issued with the Code of Compliance Certificate where the building has specified systems [e.g. alarm systems, emergency lighting etc] that have been added, removed or altered. Where the compliance schedule is new, a statement will be issued which must be displayed in the building.
Forms and Guides
Compliance Schedule Specified Systems Guidance
Compliance Schedule Specified Systems Form
SS1 Automatic Sprinklers
SS2 Emergency Warning
SS3.1 Automatic Doors | SS3.2 Access Controlled Doors | SS3.3 Interfaced Fire or Smoke Doors
SS4 Emergency Lighting
SS5 Escape Route Pressurization
SS6 Riser Mains
SS7 Backflow Preventors
SS8.1 Passenger Lifts | SS8.2 Service Lifts | SS8.3 Escalators and Moving Walks
SS9 Mechanical Ventilation
SS10 Building Maintenance Units
SS11 Laboratory Fume Cupboards
SS12.1 Audio Loops | SS12.2 FM Radio Frequency
SS13.1 Mechanical Smoke Control | SS13.2 Natural Smoke Control | SS13.3 Smoke Curtains
SS14.1 Emergency Power | SS14.2 Sign for SS 1-13
SS15.1 Systems for Communicating Evacuation | SS15.2 Final Exits | SS15.3 Fire Seperations | SS15.4 Signs | SS15.5 Smoke Seperations
SS16 Cable Cars
Application for Amendment to Compliance Schedule
If you disagree with a decision we make during the processing or inspecting of your building work, you can request a determination from the Department of Building and Housing. To find out more please go to www.dbh.govt.nz/determinations.
What if I have more Questions?
For more information or advice on preparing building consent applications contact our Planning and Environment Department helpdesk (telephone 03 440 0613).