21 October 2022

Important information and updates from our Building and Regulatory Department

With upcoming changes to some acceptable solutions, in particular the  new acceptable solutions for H1 designers need to ensure they talk with their clients about the new requirements when planning projects. The changes are likely to add costs to the price of construction projects

Government announced changes to the transitional provisions for H1 Energy efficiency. MBIE’s guidance suggests that the transitional provision (until May 2023) applies only to housing not other buildings.

It is important that designers read this guidance from MBIE to avoid any unnecessary delays in their consenting process.


BRANZ have an upcoming training webinar that people may find useful. This is the link https://branz.arlo.co/w/upcoming/

National Seismic Hazard Model

On 4 October government released a range of new information on seismicity around New Zealand. This shows quite an increase compared to the current requirements in particular in our region.

MBIE have explained that there are no immediate plans to make any changes to current requirements and there is no planned change to B1/vm1 at this stage.

We note that with NZS3604 being reviewed, there could be changes based on the new report. This is a wait and see what happens next situation, but worth keeping an eye on.

People who are planning on doing structural work to existing commercial buildings need to discuss this with their design professionals.

Soak pits

With the recent weather events we need to be more mindful of the design of soak pits. Council’s expectation is that the soak pit design will be done to the acceptable solutions of verification methods in the first instance or by a chartered professional engineer with an appropriate field of practice.

Where the soak pit is remote from the house and the boundaries (large rural sites for example) and surface water is unlikely to cause a nuisance to adjoining property, soakage testing is unlikely to be required. However, houses in town or close to boundaries may need to provide soakage testing information with their applications to show that the soak pit can effectively managed surface water.

Structural engineering and fire reports

We are often asked questions around the need for having engineers designs and fire reports peer reviewed by third parties.

It is important to note that Council is the only organisation that certifies building works. Engineers and fire designers provide reports that express their professional opinion. Council are entitled to have that report reviewed if we consider it is necessary.

Typically we will give the applicant the opportunity to arrange the peer review. If Council do this we will pass on the cost plus an administration fee.

When providing fire reports and structural designs it is important that the lead designer carefully reads the information and compares that information to their plans before they submit the information to Council.

It is important that the reports are true, accurate and accurately reflect Building Code requirements.

If you are planning a large or complex project we are more than happy to meet with you before the application is made and discuss what, if any, peer reviews or additional requirements may apply.

Pool and building warrant of fitness audits

Council is required to undertake Pool barrier and Building Warrant of Fitness Audits

Over the next few months we will be making contact with the owners of buildings and the owners of pools to arrange site visits to check on their ongoing compliance.

Our website has information for pool owners about how to prepare for an audit. If we have not inspected your pool since the relevant Code Compliance Certificate was issued, then the first inspection will be free. If we have already inspected your pool to check for ongoing compliance, then a fee of $175 applies to each and every subsequent inspection.

There are a number of things you can do to avoid requiring a re-inspection.

  • Check the pool barrier (fence) does not have any damage that could allow children to easily access the pool.
  • Check any gaps in the barrier (fence) do not exceed 100mm and that a 100mm sphere cannot pass through the gaps.
  • Check that the gate(s) close when opened 150mm and that it self-latches.
  • Check the barrier (fence) to make sure it is not climbable.
  • Check around the outside of the barrier (fence) to make sure there is nothing that has been built against or leaning against the barrier that a child could use as a climbing point.
  • Where windows and doors give access to the pool and form part of the barrier, make sure that catches/restrictors are on, any alarms are active and will operate, and where required signage is installed.

In terms of building warrant of fitness audits, building owners need to ensure that their records are being maintained and that their IQP’s are undertaking the regular checks.

We suggest having a talk to your IQP’s about your compliance schedule to make sure it is an accurate reflections of the systems in the building.

We are aware that from time to time IQP’s will suggest upgrading specified systems. If you upgrade a specified system a building consent must be applied for and obtained before the work is done.

If you have any concerns about your building warrant of fitness we are happy to meet with you.


Recently we have had a number of issues with inspections, in particular drainage type inspections.

To all drainlayers and plumbers: we are not able to do same day inspections. If drains are backfilled without council approval, we may refuse to issue relevant Code compliance certificates or you may need to dig the drains up later.

We will not accept photos of drains without prior approval.

Please also ensure that you have copies of all of the approved documents available on site. We cannot read plans that are only available on a cellphone.

If the plans are not available on site you will need to book a new inspections with additional inspection fee’s applying.

In addition, we have had some jobs where the inspections are being booked for part inspections. We would like to remind people that if you use additional inspections you will likely have additional inspection fees to pay before the CCC is issued.

Tiny homes;

We have received a number of queries regarding tiny homes and building consents. The critical component to remember is that if you are building a structure for the purposes of living in permanently then it likely requires a building consent, regardless of the number of wheels.

If you are moving an existing “tiny home” into the district then you will need a building consent for the connection to the services and any foundations.

In addition to building consent’s you may also require a resource consent. These approvals need to be obtained first.

Exempt building work:

The Building Act schedule one allows buildings up to 30m2 to be built without a building consent under very specific circumstances. The owner needs to check that they meet all of the criteria including that the building can be no closer than its own height to the boundary.

You also need to ensure that you do not need a resource consent. If you breach other legislation the exemption no longer applies. For plumbers and drainlayers, if you are being asked to install bathrooms kitchens etc into an exempt building that work requires building consent approval.

Planning matters

On our website we have a number of documents explaining many planning matters. These documents can be found here: https://cdc.govt.nz/services/planning/

If you want to know if you need a consent have a look at this website: https://canibuildit.govt.nz/

Other general information

We have been doing a lot of work on our website to provide better information and links to the other more appropriate information.

Keep an eye on our building page at www.cdc.govt.nz/building. we work to ensure the information is current and up to date.