The Building Regulatory Regime

Last updated: 28 Jun, 2023 06:51pm

In this section we provide brief explanation of the building consent process.

Building work in New Zealand is regulated primarily through the Building Act 2004. This is administered by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

There are however links to a variety of other legislation that can impact on your project. Other legislation such as The Resource Management Act can have a big influence on your plans. In some case’s you may need approval under both pieces of legislation before you can start work.

For example although Council may grant you a building consent for building work you may not be able to start work until you have obtained a Resource Consent. It is useful to note that a resource consent doesn’t allow you to undertake building work.  

Building Act 2004

The Building Act places obligations on all parties such as designers, builders, owners and Council as it relates to building work.

The Building Act splits the role of council into a Territorial Authority and a Building consent Authority. Although in law each has a different series of functions in the Building Act, in most cases people will not be affected by these separated functions. For the purposes of this guidance we will refer to Council.

Building Code Compliance

When applying for a building consent the application must show Building Code compliance before the application is made. Councils role is to confirm or not the decisions made by the designer. ( we do this by checking the proposed work against the performance requirements of the Building Code)

Council have prescribed timeframes to process building consents. These are 10 working days where the consent is a national Multiuse approval and 20 working days for ll other consents. 

Depending on what council finds during the processing of the consent the consent can be either granted and issued, or refused. Council can also suspend (stop) the processing clock and seek additional information.

Where information is required, you will receive a notification through Simpli and you can upload your responses into Simpli once you have made any necessary changes. Once the information is received the processing clock will restart the following day

Depending on the work the applicant may need to show compliance with specific parts of the Building Act as well as the Building Code such as:

Depending on the circumstances these elements can be quite complex and are often best handle by people who have dealt with the requirements before.

In addition, some consents may be sent to Fire and Emergency New Zealand for review. This is not common. Fire and emergency New Zealand will comment if they have the time.

Granting Building Consents

Council must grant the building consent when we are satisfied on reasonable that the work, if properly completed in accordance with the plans and specifications would comply with the building Code.

Building consents may be granted with conditions.  For example, every consent is issued with the condition that Council has the right to inspect the building work as per section 90 of the Act.  Other conditions may be imposed where:

Compliance Schedule

Where your building includes specified systems such as fire alarms, automatic doors etc you will need to obtain a compliance schedule.

To do this you must provide the performance standard for each specified system and the inspection maintenance and reporting procedures for each of those systems.

Restricted Building Work

If your project involves work on a residential building, the design and construction may need to be done by licensed building practitioners. Information on the scheme can be found here

Owners can do restricted building work on their own house if they apply for an owner builder exemption. There is a form to be filled out for this. 

Although most owners reply on the builders/trades people to ensure Councils inspections are done, owners should also ensure that they are getting done at the right time.

Certificate for Public Use

If your building is intended for public use, and there is building work being undertaken under building consent and you want to continue using the building, you will need to apply for and obtain a certificate for public use.

Code Compliance Certificate

 Once the work is complete the owner must apply for a Code compliance certificate. This involves filling out an application form and providing the information listed on your building consent.

We have 20 working days to decide whether to issue the CCC. If there are requests for additional information the processing clock is stopped. The clock restarts the day after a complete response to the request is received.

The issue of a Code compliance certificate (CCC) means where we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the work complies with the consent and the Building Code

We will check back through all inspection records, check documentation requested has been supplied and is appropriate and we have energy works and LBP memoranda where necessary. If the work involves specified systems, we will also need information on each of the specified systems showing that they will perform to the performance standards listed on the building consent.

Again, there will be forms to complete, possibly additional fees.

Where additional information is required, the plans and supporting material must be to the same standard as the original application. (freehand scribbles on pages are not acceptable).

Other Points to Note

The Building Act imposes some timeframes that owners need to be aware of.

If the work does not start within a year of the consent being issued. The consent shall lapse and be of no affect. This means a new consent will need to be obtained.

Two years after the consent is granted Council must decide whether to issue a CCC.

You can make an application to extend the time frames provided this occurs before the due date.