What happens once I have applied?

Overview

Here’s how the process works when you, or your agent or architect, lodge your building consent application:

Content check

We check your application form for completeness, and review the plans, specifications and other supporting information to make sure you have supplied all the required information. This is a content check only, not a technical check.

20-day clock starts

We have 20 working days to process your building consent application. The clock starts once your application has been vetted and accepted. If your application is received after 2pm the clock will start the next working day.

If your building consent involves a National Multi-use Approval, we have 10 working days to process the application.

If we request further information, the clock stops and does not restart until we receive all of the information that has been requested. Providing information piecemeal is not helpful and won't be accepted.

Technical check

Once the application has been accepted, we check your application to make sure it complies with the New Zealand Building Code. In particular, we check the plans and specifications against the compliance path described in the building consent application and the performance requirements of the Building Code. 

Once we are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building work will comply with the Building Code we will grant the consent. If we are not satisfied the consent will be refused. If we refuse the application we will explain the decision.

Specialist input

In some cases we may ask a specialist consultant to process part or all of your consent.

Request for further information (RFI)

We may contact you or your agent with questions during the assessment process. If further information is requested, the 20-day clock is suspended until all of the requested information has been provided. Information will not be accepted if it is provided in piecemeal fashion. The clock restarts once we have confirmed that all of the required information has been provided.

You have 20 days to provide the information requested in full to prevent the application being refused.

Check from other departments

The consent will also be reviewed by other Council departments such as Planning (Resource Consents) and Roading. If they have any questions they will contact you.

Approval and fee

If we approve your application we get in touch to let you know, and advise you how much to pay.

Consent documentation issued

Once you’ve paid your invoice, we will return your approved consent documents by email. 

Inspections

You must print all of the consent documentation (to the original scale) and have it available on site when requesting an inspection.

If we refuse your application

We occasionally refuse applications for building consent. This is usually because:

  • Information that we have asked for hasn’t been supplied in a reasonable timeframe, or
  • There is not enough detail to prove that the work will comply with the New Zealand Building Code
  • The designer has failed to show how the proposed work would comply with the Building Code.

If this happens, we will write to you and explain why we’ve refused your application. Our letter will include an invoice for any processing and other costs that we have incurred. Once you have addressed the matters raised in the refusal letter and paid the invoice you can then re-apply for your building consent should you wish.

Commercial applications

In some cases certain types of applications (e.g. commercial and industrial situations) will be forwarded to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) for review. Following the review, FENZ are required to provide a memorandum to Council that we must consider.

Your fire engineer must provide a fire report to Council. The fire report should include a statement from the Fire Engineer as to whether in their opinion that the application is a type that should be sent to FENZ for review. 

In cases where your building includes specified systems additional information (e.g. performance standards, make, model and location) will be required in order that we can prepare a compliance schedule.

If your dwelling has a cable car attached to it, you will also require a compliance schedule.

Heritage New Zealand

Council is required to notify Heritage NZ of any applications involving building work, which affect a registered historic place, historic area, wahi tapu, or wahi tapu area.  

Third-party Documentation

In some cases your application may include information and technical opinions from engineers and other people. Depending on the circumstances Council may require you to confirm their competence. Council may have technical opinions peer reviewed.

Granting of consent

Council must grant a building consent if it is 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.

In order to avoid unnecessary delays in receiving your building consent, it is important that the application is accurate and precise. If your application is being suspended for further information you should seek an explanation from your designer.

Determinations

If your application has been rejected and you believe the decision is wrong you can ask the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for a determination. 

Determinations are legally binding decisions on disputes or questions about rules that apply to buildings. Find out more about determinations on the MBIE website. Check previous determinations – some of them might be about situations like yours. A determination can be appealed to the District Court.

To make a complaint visit Complaints, Compliments and Enquiries.