The information you’ll need to provide depends on the type of application you are making.
At the very minimum all applications need
- scaled drawings showing
- site plan showing boundary, building layout dimensions and north point
- dimensioned floor plan
- building elevations
- proposed or existing services
- construction cross sections and details
- a copy of the record of title
- intended use of the building
- restricted building work memorandum or owner-builder declaration (if it is restricted building work)
- any applicable resource consents or other authorisations
- information on how you’ll meet the requirements of other legislation as necessary – eg Historic Places Act, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, council bylaws
- construction details and specifications showing how your project will comply
- supporting documents for your construction details
What to supply
Your application should have sufficient detail to make sure the builder can construct a compliant building from the approved consent documentation.
We have to read all supporting information that you provide with your application. So to make the processing of your application more efficient and less costly
- supply only what is needed – ie only the relevant page(s) of the manufacturers’ document (not the full product brochure)
- commonly used products – you only need to identify them on the plans or in an addendum to the specification (eg Gib, Ecoply, Thermakraft, Pink Batts, etc)
- alternative solutions (ie not commonly used or new to the market) – provide manufacturers literature and background information to support your application (eg asphalt shingles, underfloor heating, alternative claddings, heat pump hot water, etc)
- add references to your specification documentation for clarity (eg BRANZ appraisals and numbers, manufacturer technical manual versions, etc)
- for specific engineering design – provide verifiable evidence of building code compliance – (eg producer statement design (PS1), calculations, sketches/drawings or a combination of these).
How to supply your supporting documents
Consistent document order makes it faster for our team to locate the information they are looking for to help make their decision to grant. That is why we ask you to provide your supporting documents in the order listed below.
Your documents should be
- combined into the files in the format below, and
- have one single file provided in each upload area, and
- searchable PDF – for guidance see our document with tips on searchable PDFs [PDF, 201 KB]
The latest version of ‘Guidance to applying for a building consent (residential buildings)’ provides a minimum benchmark as to the acceptable standard of documentation.
Applications that are not compiled appropriately may be rejected.
Document upload area
Expected order of file
Record of title
Note: no underlying record of title is required where title hasn’t been issued yet for new subdivisions with more than 10 allotments
Restricted building work memorandum
In addition to above also add
- fire report (although depending on the complexity of project it may be more appropriate to have a separate file)
- structural documentation – PS1, inspection schedule, calculations, sketches
Note – structural plans should be included in the plan file.
Checking that you’ve supplied everything
Before you complete your application use the relevant checklist below to make sure you’ve provided all information we need
- Residential Building Consent application checklist [PDF, 81 KB]
- Commercial or Industrial building consent application checklist [PDF, 77 KB]
- Solid Fuel Heater building consent application checklist [PDF, 124 KB]
- Code Compliance Certificate application checklist [PDF, 233 KB]
- Relocated Building application checklist [PDF, 86 KB]
Owner contact details
If you are an agent acting on behalf of an owner please note the following
- you must provide full contact details for the owner
- the owner can’t contract out of receiving information relating to their build project
- you and the owner will receive all communications regarding the application.
It’s important for owners to receive a copy of all information relating to their project. This enables
- them to meet their obligations under the Building Act, and
- council to contact the owner should there be any further enquiries after the building consent has been issued.
Applications will not be accepted until all owner details are provided – so by providing this information up front you will avoid unnecessary delays with your application.
Record of title
Where title is in the owner's name
You’ll need to supply a full record of title with your building consent or project information memorandum (PIM) application. This should be no older than six months from the application date and include
- the title page,
- map page, and
- a copy of any consent notices or other instruments or restrictions referenced on the title.
This information helps us with processing your application by confirming
- who owns the land,
- legal description, and
- any registered rights and restrictions that may have an effect on the proposed building work by preventing or limiting building work within areas of your property title.
If you’ve recently purchased your property your solicitor will have obtained a new title. Alternatively you can get a record of title from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for a fee.
We will only accept a record of title from LINZ because alternative sources do not disclose the full information we need for processing your application.
Where title is not yet in the owners name
If there’s no title available yet you will need to provide
- a copy of the Sales and Purchase Agreement as proof of ownership, and
- the record of title for the underlying property, and
- an approved survey (LT) plan showing proposed boundaries and any restrictions on the new section (if your property is part of a proposed subdivision where a new title hasn’t been issued yet).
Once your title has been issued in your name you’ll need to provide this to us with your code compliance certificate application.
Where there is a lease agreement
If you have a lease agreement for a tenancy of a property and want to carry out building work you’ll need to provide
- the title for the underlying property,
- a copy of the lease agreement, and
- a letter of authorisation from the owner that building work can be carried out.
Terms that you may find on your record of title
- covenant – an agreement between two groups that requires one group to either do or not do some things
- easement – allows one property the right to use (but not own) a certain part of another property for such things as a drain, power or telephone cables, or right of ways (driveways).
- consent notice – conditions usually due to a resource consent already issued for the property.
You may need to provide with your application a completed National Environmental Standard (NES) for assessing and managing contaminants in soil to protect human health (PLG1 form).
This form relates to land which is actually or potentially contaminated either from
- an activity or industry on the Hazardous Activities or Industries List (HAIL), or
- where a HAIL activity is likely to have been undertaken on that land.
For more information see national environmental standards.
Building location certificates
Every building consent involving new structures needs to have the location confirmed. The scope will vary depending on the complexity of work, its location, planning rules and the methods available to confirm the location.
A building location certificate (BLC) may not be necessary during construction if suitable plans and the following information is provided
- The site and level plan for the building consent has a clearly marked finished floor level (FFL) point with stated datum site benchmarks, by a clearly identified Licensed Cadastral Surveyor or Registered Professional Surveyor
- The plans have sufficient external topographical levels and FFL for each floor and a floor to roof line dimension, including current and proposed ground levels
- The plans reference the level datum used - eg Lyttelton Vertical Datum 1937, Christchurch Drainage Datum, or New Zealand Vertical Datum 2016
- Designs are at least 100 mm above the minimum floor level and 200mm away from planning setbacks and recession plane lines.
Where your plans can’t provide the above, you may need to provide a building location certificate [PDF, 73 KB] at your first inspection to confirm that the building work is in the correct location.
For more information on the roles, process, and responsibilities select the relevant link below
Withdrawing your building consent application
If you decide to not proceed with your build project you must let us know in writing via
- email email@example.com or
- post to PO Box 90, Rolleston or
- drop it into our office at 2 Norman Kirk Drive, Rolleston
You’ll be invoiced for any costs incurred up until the notification date, or if the consent has been issued you may receive a credit.
Information and considerations for specific approvals
Project information memorandum
A project information memorandum (PIM) can be applied for
- on its own, or
- with the building consent.
Where the application is for a PIM only then you’ll need to supply a site plan, floor plan and elevations of your proposal.
If the application is a PIM/BC then you’ll need to supply the same information as you do for a building consent application. The same timeframe applies for processing a PIM as for a building consent – ie 20 working days, although this may be sooner if workload allow.
At times we may need further information from you to allow your PIM processing to be completed. Where this happens we will contact you with a formal request for further information within 10 days of receiving your PIM application.
Marquees may require a building consent, or may be exempt.
Your marquee, tent or similar lightweight structure (eg a stall, booth, or compartment used at fairs, exhibitions, markets) is automatically exempt from needing a building consent if it
- has a floor area under 100m2, and
- is not in place for more than a month.
This exemption recognises that these structures are simple construction and temporary, allowing you to construct, alter or remove a tent or marquee that is being used either for public use (eg fairs, exhibitions and market events) or private use (eg for a wedding reception). The restriction on maximum floor area in place to avoid potential safety problems.
For more details on exemptions see Schedule 1 of the Building Act 2004.
Marquees needing a building consent
If your marquee that does not fall into the above category, you can either apply for
In either case you will need to complete all relevant sections of a building consent application form and supply required documentation to show compliance with the building code.
Exemptions have a minimum charge of $300.00 which is invoiced once your exemption has been either granted or refused. If processing time exceeds this amount (ie further information or an inspection by Council is required) then these costs will be charged at actual time and cost in addition to the $300.00.
Solid fuel heater
The types of clean air approved solid fuel heaters that can be installed are controlled by the National Emission Standard. What you can install on your property depends on the location and size of your property.
Information on which solid fuel heaters are accepted in which regions can be found on the Environment Canterbury website. Alternatively any distributor of log burners should also be able to provide you with the relevant information.
Once you know which fire you can install and you are ready to lodge your building consent you’ll need to provide us with the following
- completed building consent application
- record of title, or sale and purchase agreement, or rates demand
- fixed fee payment – see our building fees for details
- specified intended life of 50 years – to reflect the intended life of the whole building not just the building element.
You can check that you have supplied all the information using our solid fuel heater consent application checklist [PDF, 124 KB].
Installing your own solid fuel heater
A solid fuel heater doesn’t have to be installed by a registered installer – you can install one yourself. If you’re thinking of doing this you will want to consider the following
- obtain professional advice from a registered builder with the relevant knowledge to help you comply with the building code
- the location of your solid fuel heater, as this may affect structural elements of your roof and walls
- installation to the manufacturers installation instructions, with the required clearances from the firebox to walls and anything combustible, and flue clearances in the roof space.
Solid fuel heaters that are installed in a cavity or recess (inbuilt fire) will need to have an inspection of the cavity before the installation of the fire. All clearances will be checked by a council inspector after installation to confirm the installation has been completed to the manufacturer’s specifications.
When applying for a consent for a pool, check our publication on swimming pool barriers [PDF, 2452 KB]. This outlines what you need to have in place to help restrict access to the pool or immediate pool area to unsupervised children.
Depending on the type of pool being installed, a geotechnical report may not be required. This is because it’s not possible to prevent most pool structures from deforming during an earthquake. The structural engineer who designed your pool will be able to provide you with more advice.
If you already have a geotechnical report or shallow soil investigation for your site for a new home or similar please provide this information with your application, as this can still be helpful.
Before you start on a pool, you may want to check with your insurance company that your policy covers the replacement or repair of the pool in the event of a natural disaster.
There are two types of solar systems available. This may determine if you need a building consent.
Solar photovoltaic systems – also known as solar PV
- produces electricity that can be used to operate any electrical items linked to the system
- the panels are lighter, therefore put minimal additional loads onto your roof.
Generally speaking the energy work involved in installing solar PV does not require a building consent. All work must still comply with the building code.
Solar hot water
- a hot water system that heats up water
- has heavier panels that may put additional weight onto your roof
There are safety issues associated with water heating devices. Therefore to help ensure the system is installed correctly you’ll need to apply for a building consent. Your application will need to include
- a completed building consent application form
- a copy of the record of title
- product specifications, including attachment details
- a floor plan
- elevations of the dwelling
- a plumbing schematic
- hot water cylinder specifications, including details of the safe tray.
All solar hot water installations need a certifying plumber licensed to install the system.
Carrying out alterations/renovations
As a home owner you can complete some renovations yourself, so long as it is not restricted building work.
You will need a building consent if your renovation work involves
- altering the structure of your home
- involves installation of services (eg ensuite)
- any other work needed as a result of a failure to meet the durability and weathertightness requirements of your dwelling.
Restricted building work affects the structural integrity and weathertightness of a dwelling, therefore this work must be done or supervised by a licensed building practitioner.
You may be able to carry out restricted building work under the owner builder exemption of the Building Act – see information on owner builder exemptions for more details.
For your building consent to be granted we need to be satisfied that the building will
- be as near as reasonably practicable to the building code requirements for means of escape from fire, and access and facilities for people with disabilities (if required)
- continue to meet the other building code requirements to at least the same extent as before the alteration.
Part alteration requires upgrades to the whole building
Where part of your building is altered, this may trigger required updates for the whole building. Your application can be granted without your building meeting these requirements, but only if we can be satisfied that
- alterations wouldn’t happen if the building were to comply with the building code
- the alterations result in improvements to the means of escape from fire or access and facilities for people with disabilities
- the improvements outweigh any detriment that may happen as a result of the other non-compliance with the building code.
If your dwelling is connected to a septic tank system you will need to check the capacity of your septic tank before you add any additional bedrooms.
Where your home is already at the capacity for the septic tank then as part of your alterations you will need to check your septic tank is able to cope with the additional capacity. If it needs to be replaced you’ll need to include this information with your building consent.
Please contact Environment Canterbury to discuss any potential implications on altering your existing septic tank system.
Connecting to the council waste water scheme
Before you start you will need to apply for a building consent to connect to the council waste water scheme and decommission the existing septic tank. See information on how to apply .
Your application will need
- a record of title
- a site plan showing proposed drainage layout
- drainlayer’s name, registration number and contact details
- information on complying standards, materials, pipework size and gradient, showing
- specified materials to satisfy the durability provisions of building code B2
- means of compliance with the relevant building code clauses
- confirmation that existing septic tank has been emptied/removed and appropriately backfilled
- confirmation that old drains have been decommissioned (capped/removed).
In addition, you will need to complete a new sewer connection approval form before connecting to council’s system.
A registered drainlayer will need to carry out this work. Work will be inspected by our building inspection team before a code compliance certificate can be issued.
Please be aware that a development contribution may be required and need to paid prior to receiving your code compliance certificate.
Subdivision of a building
Where your application relates to subdividing a building under section 116A of the Act, you will need to provide evidence with your application to show how the BCA can be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the building will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with every provision of the building code that relates to
- means of escape from fire
- access and facilities for persons with disabilities (if this is a requirement under section 118)
- protection of other property
- if it complied with the other provisions of the building code immediately before the application for a subdivision was made, continue to comply with those provisions; or
- if it did not comply with the other provisions of the building code immediately before the application for a subdivision was made, continue to comply at least to the same extent as it did then comply.
This information is required to allow council to make a decision on whether it will issue a certificate under section 224(f) of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Consider applying for a national multiple-use approval (known as a multiproof) if you plan to replicate the same standardised building design many times.
A multiproof is a statement by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) that a set of plans and specifications for a building complies with the building code.
Multiproof consents can benefit you if you
- build or intend to build a number of similar designs
- use standard construction details for a range of similar designs
- need consistency when applying for building consents to different BCAs
- want to save time when applying for a building consent and lower consent cost
- intend and are able to build the approved design at least 10 times within a two year period.
Once a multiproof is approved by MBIE a site specific building consent is required each time you want to build the approved design. This allows the BCA to confirm that the design, with any permitted variations, is the same as that approved in the multiproof and
- that the proposed site meets the conditions of the multiproof
- any site specific features of the design comply with the building code
- the inspections required.
Multiproof building consent applications must be granted within 10 working days instead of the usual 20 day timeframe.
For more information on multiproofs see the MBIE website which outlines
- suitable buildings and construction types eligible for multiproof applications, and
- whether your design meets the required criteria.
Buildings with specified systems
Where your building will have specified systems installed, you’ll need to provide with your building consent application information on the inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures for those specified systems. Industry best practice is to also include the performance standards for the systems.
If you have a building where the storage area contains pallet racking, the information you need to supply with your consent application will depend on the situation. For details please see our information guide on pallet racking [PDF, 96 KB].
Ways to show compliance on applications
Acceptable solutions and verification methods
Where designs use acceptable solutions or verification methods these will considered as complying with the related clause(s) of the building code. The acceptable solution or verification method used needs to be clearly identified through their unique identification number(s) – eg E2/AS1 for clause E2 external moisture.
You can use methods that are alternative ways of building to the acceptable solutions and verification methods. As part of your application you’ll need to show how these meet the required building code performance standards. This can be through a calculation or test result, comparison with an acceptable solutions or verification method, technical data from the manufacturer, etc.
These are agreed specifications for products, processes, services and performance created by Standards New Zealand. Some standards are named by the building code and so are included in the acceptable solutions – eg NZS3604:2011 is B1/AS1.
Certificate of work memorandum
You must complete and include with the consent application a certificate of work if you are an architectural designer, architect or engineer carrying out or supervising design of restricted building work.
Producer statements & design feature reports
These are professional opinions that can help support a consent application. They are not a product warranty or guarantee and therefore do not have to be accepted by council (see producer statements for more details).
Product certification & appraisals
You can also show building code compliance through product certification and appraisals.
Product certification, also known as CodeMark, is voluntary, and certifies products, systems or building methods after assessment by an accredited certification organisation.
Appraisals are similar to certification. An independent assessment and evaluation confirms compliance with the building code. Appraisals can be carried out by the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) and Building Element Assessment Laboratory Limited (BEAL).