Building Consent Process

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Central Otago District Council is responsible for ensuring that building work is safe, durable, sustainable and poses no danger to the health and wellbeing of property owners and users.

Building consent means a consent to carry out building work granted by a building consent authority under Section 49 of the Building Act 2004.

Each Council department will review and assess the application for compliance with the building code, Building Act, building regulations and Resource Management Act 1991.

A building consent is confirmation by us that the proposed building, plumbing, drainage and safety requirements comply with the building code. Almost all building work needs a building consent, and you may also need resource consent for earthworks, building and other environmental effects.

We strongly recommend that you get in touch with us during the planning stages of your project to ensure that you are on the right track. ​

Find out how to apply for a building consent​ and how much it costs. Remember your work cannot start until the fees are paid and your building consent is granted.

The time it takes to grant and issue a building consent depends on the complexity of your project and whether or not you have provided all the correct information. Before the building consent can be granted we must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the provisions of the building code would be met if the building work were properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications that accompanied the application.

Once we are satisfied the project will meet building code requirements, building consent can be granted and the 20-day statutory clock finally stops.  All building consents need to be approved within 20 working days. Generally we find that complete and technically correct building consent applications are processed faster.

Applications with incorrect information however may take longer to process. In this situation applicants will receive a written request for further information, which will stop the 20 working day clock. Processing of the application will continue and the clock will restart when the requested information is provided in full and is correct. Then your consent will be granted.

Please note: Work must not begin on the project until a building consent (and resource consent if required) has been granted and issued.

Building consent conditions and advisory notes

Conditions are requirements imposed on your building consent which are deemed necessary to ensure the compliance of the proposed building. The conditions are listed on the building consent and must be complied with. There are five specific conditions that can be applied to an issued building consent and owners and builder/developers should ensure that they understand these and their implications if:

  • The approved plans contain waivers or modifications to the building code issued by the Territorial Authority, section 67 of the Building Act.
  • The building consent has been issued with a notification, condition, that the land is subject to natural hazards, see section 72 of the Building Act. 
  • The building consent has been issued subject to a condition to allow for building over two or more allotments, section 75 of the Building Act.
  • The building consent has been issued with the condition that inspections will need to be conducted, section 90 of the Building Act. Inspections may be conducted by council officers and may sometimes be required to be conducted by other professionals like structural engineers. These will have to provide documentation that they have conducted these inspections and they will need to be organised and paid for by the builder/developer/owner.  
  • The building consent has been issued with the condition that the structure has a 'specified intended life' as determined by the owner/application, section 113 of the Building Act. ​

Advisory notes may also be attached to the building consent. This information is provided to assist you.  It is important that you read and understand all these requirements prior to commencing work.  If you do not understand any requirement imposed, please contact us.

Extension to the specified intend​​​ed life of a building

Most buildings have an indefinite life exceeding 50 years. At times they could be assessed as having an agreed specified life of less than 50 years possibly due to inadequacies of building code compliance or on owner's request to have a temporarily located building.

Where a building consent is granted for a building with a specified intended life, it is granted subject to the condition that 'the building must be altered, demolished or removed before the end of its specified life'. 

An owner of a building must give written notice to the CODC if they propose extending the life of a building.  If the territorial authority is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building can satisfactorily perform for a further specified time, it will approve the extension in accordance with Section 116 of the Building Act 2014.

Visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website in the related information area, for more information.​

Vehicle Crossing Application/Rapid number requests

If you are building a new dwelling or making major alterations to a domestic building and a new or altered vehicle access to the property is required and/or a rapid number (for rural dwelling), an application should be made at the same time as applying for a building consent. 

Resolving Problems (Complaints process)

Throughout the consenting process the building team maintain a customer focus. However, if you are unhappy with the building team's customer service or decisions, all complaints should be forwarded to the Council's Regulatory Services Manager. The complaint will be investigated and the Regulatory Services Manager will determine what further action should to be taken in regard to the complaint.

If the outcome from a complaint is deemed unsatisfactory by the complainant, the matter will be escalated to the Executive Manager of Planning and Environment for determination.

All formal complaints to the Council must be received in writing (email or letter.) Complaints should be addressed to: Regulatory Services Manager, Central Otago District Council, PO Box 122, Alexandra 9340 or emailed to:

Our standard response timeframe is an acknowledgement within two working days and a response in 10 working days. However, if the issue needs more time we will let you know and keep you updated.

If you  have any queries, concerns or complaints about Council's building control functions, guidance on resolving problems can found on the Building Performance website

The Building Act has provision to obtain a determination. A determination is a legally binding ruling made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) about matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. Guidance about determinations can also be found on the Building Performance website .

Determinations Process

If you have a complaint regarding a building or building work and whether it complies with the Building Code this should be discussed with Central Otago District Council in the first instance to try and resolve the complaint. However, if this cannot be resolved the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have the ability to make a determination on the matter. ​

A determination is a legally binding ruling made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) about matters of doubt or dispute to do with building work. Guidance about determinations can also be found on the Building Performance website .

Page reviewed: 25 Jun 2020 1:06pm